Lot 3492* - A189 PostWar & Contemporary - Saturday, 29. June 2019, 02.00 PM


(Goa 1924 - 2002 Mumbai)
My alter ego. 1962.
Acrylic on canvas.
Signed and dated upper left: SOUZA 62. Signed, titled, described and with measurements and technique details on the reverse: F.N. SOUZA "MY ALTER EGO" SOUZA 1962 39" x 30" ACRYLIC ON CANVAS.
97.5 x 78.5 cm.

Provenance: From the family's private collection.

Francis Newton Souza was born in Goa. As a child he survived a smallpox epidemic. He was expelled from his school twice because of his behaviour; on the second occasion it was because as a student he supported the "Quit India Movement". He then contacted the Indian Communist Party and was one of the founders of the “Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group” who were important for the development of artists of Indian origin. In 1949 he moved to London where he wrote for various newspapers, since he could not yet make a living from his art. He exhibited his works as often as possible. He wrote two books and made a name for himself as an author. He enjoyed his breakthrough as an artist with an exhibition at Gallery One in London, where all the works were sold. From 1967 he lived in New York, which was made possible amongst other things by the financial support of a patron. In 2002 during a trip to India he died in Mumbai.

Souza was a lifelong non-conformist with a certain tendency towards rebellion. This intensity and non-conformist attitude arise again and again in his work. His work was expressionistic, and he never stopped experimenting. He is one of the most important and influential artists in India. Violence, sensuality and eroticism are his most popular themes. Recurring motifs are still lifes, nudes, figures from Christianity, religious scenes and landscapes. He used different media and often mixed chemical substances with his paints in order to achieve different effects. Souza was also one of the first Indian painters to use acrylic in the 1960s. His work is also characterised by its use of social critique.

These perspectives are echoed in the works presented here. The intense colours and hectic gestures show a raw side, which is very typical of Souza’s work. We can really sense his lively nature. The works offered here at auction are powerful expressions of his ideas and visual techniques.

CHF 60 000 / 80 000

€ 52 630 / 70 180

Sold for CHF 49 100 (including buyer’s premium)
All information is subject to change.