Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Art: F.N. Souza

Last week I stopped by AICON gallery to see The Ghost of Souza. "The exhibition creates a map of relationships, drawing on a wide range of artists and artiastic practices from contemporary India, bringing them into conversation with a selection of some of Souzas most powerful canvases." The gallery is located on 35 Great Jones Street and the work of Souza and others will be on display until October 18, 2008. I highly recommend checking it out.

Francis Newton Souza (1924-2002) was an Indian artist. He was the first avant-garde artist from India to achieve widespread recognition in the West. If his name doesn't seem Indian to you it's because he's from Goa which was colonized by the Portuguese hella early. I got a paper lying around about the Jesuits who came over and kicked it with the Mughals; 20 bucks a pop but you can use it at Wesleyan because I wrote it at SOAS (holler). His style was, as John Berger put it, "deliberately eclectic". While it was Expressionist in character, it also drew upon post-war Art Brut and British Neo-romanticism. After 1967 he settled in N.Y. but returned to India before his death in 2002.

Dude got kicked out of every school he went to, including the prestigious Sir J.J. School of Art I've mentioned a lot of people going to. Alumni I've posted about here that went to J.J. include Atul Dodiya, Anjolie Eli Menon, and MF Husain. J.J. was kind of a colonial jumpoff and Souza supported the Quit India Movement so they mercked him out in 1942.

Souza and S.H.Raza, who is on my list of artists to post about, started the Progressive Artists Group in 1947, the year India gained Independence. MF Husain was an early member of the group as well. The idea was to break away with the Bengal School of Art and their quasi-orientalist ways instead embracing the avant-garde and international world of art. Fools were painting mad shit that catered to the whites. He left India for London in 1949. In 1956 the group disbanded.

DOUBLE PORTRAIT, 1962, Oil on Canvas

POPE BLESSING THE CROWD, 1963, Oil on Canvas

SPAIN, 1959, Oil on Board

DEGENERATES, 1957, Oil on Board

PORTRAIT AFTER TITIAN, 1956, Oil on Canvas

PORTRAIT OF HUSAIN, 1958, Oil on Board

HINDU PRINCESS, 1949, Oil on Board



LANDSCAPE, 1974, Oil on Canvas

And here's an awesome piece by Baiju Parthan who I posted on before. Parthan studied under Souza who is depicted (I'm almost positive) in this piece. You can see this piece at AICON as well.

AS SIMPLE AS THAT (EROS AND MINOTAUR), 2008, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas

1 comment:

Nishad said...

it is souza in baiju's piece - he didn't study under souza; they met at a 2001 residency in LA with saffronart and apparao gallery, and since then FNS has featured on and off in BP's work

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