Saturday, July 18th, 2009 | Author:

Francis Newton Souza was born on 12 April 1924, in Saligao, Goa. Francis Newton Souza was a renowned Indian painter of his time. Francis Newton Souza studied at Sir JJ School of Art in the city of Mumbai. However, he was later suspended because he uncompromisingly supported the Quit India movement in 1945.

Francis Newton Souza was the one to set up the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group. The motto of this group was to inculcate confidence and increase the morale of the follow artists. The main objective was to encourage Indian artists to participate in the international avant-garde. But, after India achieved freedom from the British rule, FN Souza moved base to London, United Kingdom. His work was included by the Institute of Contemporary Art in a 1954 display. Soon after this, many other exhibitions followed.

His talents in the literary field also helped to boost his career. His autobiographical work Nirvana of a Maggot was published in the journal called Encounter. Encounter was then edited by Stephen Spender. Also, another add on to his literary reputation was his book Words and Lines which was published in 1959.

Francis Newton Souza’s career built up progressively. He took part in a number of exhibitions and shows. John Berger also acclaimed him positively. John Berger mentioned that Souza’s style was purposely assorted, essentially Expressionist in character, but also drawing on the post-war Art Brut movement and elements of British Neo-romanticism.

Souza settled in New York in 1967. He returned to India a little time before his death. His funeral took place on March 30 at a graveyard in Sewri, India.
A self styled painting by Souza was displayed in Feb 2009 at the BBC Antiques Road show. Souza was the first Indian artist to gain international recognition and represent India on a global level.

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