PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN
Gouache on paper pasted on board
21 ¾ x 15 in. (55.3 x 38.1 cm.)
Signed and dated 'Souza / 1950' upper right
Formerly in the collection of Julian Hartnoll, Souza's gallerist in London for many years.
In 1947 M. F. Husain and F. N. Souza travelled to New Delhi to visit the India Independence Exhibition at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The classical sculptures of ancient India had a huge impact upon the two artists, and offered for both of them a visual vocabulary that was different from the Greco-Roman representation of the human form, that had influenced so much of Western Art. Husain immediately adopted the postures of classical Indian sculpture, and converted their monumental forms into the iconography of his modernist paintings. Their mudras in particular, became an integral part of his own art for much of his career. For Souza, the impact of the exhibition was equally apparent in his drawings and paintings of the years immediately following the trip. Both the current and preceding lot show the direct influence of classical Indian sculpture in his work. The figures appear to be ‘Souzaesque’ versions of early yakshi figures possibly inspired by the carvings at Mathura, or apsara figures from Khajuraho.
Mullins states ‘Souza made a passionate study of Indian art, and was particularly moved by the South Indian bronzes –with their symbolism and their astonishing feeling for movement, and by the sublimely erotic carvings on the temples of Khajuraho. Both of these made a lasting impression on him, and were largely responsible for awakening the imagination of the young painter.’ (Edwin Mullins, Souza, London, 1962, p. 16)
About The Artist:
FRANCIS NEWTON SOUZA (1924 - 2002)