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LANDSCAPE

LANDSCAPE

Item Description:

PROPERTY OF A FRIEND OF THE ARTIST

Oil on board

1957

23 1/2 x 29 1/2 in. (59.7 x 75 cm.)

Signed and dated 'Souza 57' upper left and inscribed and dated 'F.N. SOUZA / LANDSCAPE 1957' on reverse



Souza moved to London shortly after India achieved Independence. During these early years, his repertoire was varied, encompassing bold figurative works, quietly religious still life compositions and striking female nudes. A particular focus during these London years were his carefully structured landscapes. He drew his inspiration from his surroundings, specifically the leafy London suburb of Hampstead where he resided. His landscapes from the early 1950s tend to be tightly structured compositions, created from a few basic geometric forms that become a self-imposed rule book for his creative process. He states, 'my drawings and paintings, for instance, are made of a little structure; two parallel lines cross-hatched on either side. All my work - still lives, landscapes, portraits and compositions is based on this principle, or perhaps its is a drop of water or germ of some sort ... because, if man is made in the image of God's likeness, his creative activity must also be in the likeness of a hypothetical activity of the Creative God.' (F.N. Souza, 'Nirvana of a Maggot', Words and Lines, London, 1959, p. 18)



By the late 1950s, the period of the current painting, there is a drastic shift in Souza's landscapes and his depiction of the architecture around North London changes dramatically. The town houses become structurally unviable, with uprooted trees often distorted to the point of destruction. 'The buildings begin to sway and tumble and lean against each other in frantic postures. These cityscapes, produced in frequent succession, remind one a little of Van Gogh who put his landscapes awhirl with his spiritual passions, and of Soutine, a painter Souza has always immensely admired. Souza's landscapes follow the logic of these two artists except that the passion is negative, and the source is very likely war.' (Geeta Kapur, Contemporary Indian Artists, New Delhi, 1979, p. 30)

Condition:

The colours of the original are somewhat brighter than the catalogue illustrationespecially in the blues of the sky and red of the foreground. The painting hasbeen recently cleaned and varnished. Fine craquelure has been consolidatedwith several small spots of paint loss retouched in the trees above the centralbuilding, and in the red ground of the lower right corner. Two further minorspots of retouching within the thick black lines of the building outline. Twominor chips of paint loss visible in the upper left corner. Overall good condition.

About The Artist:

FRANCIS NEWTON SOUZA (1924-2002)

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