• South Asian Modern + Contempor auction at Christies

    Sale 2299

    South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art

    23 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 16

    FRANCIS NEWTON SOUZA (1924-2002)

    Golly - Wog

    Price Realised  

    FRANCIS NEWTON SOUZA (1924-2002)
    Golly - Wog
    signed and dated 'Souza 58' (center left); further signed, inscribed and dated 'F. N. SOUZA GOLLY - WOG 1958' (on the reverse)
    oil on masonite board
    29¾ x 24 in. (75.7 x 61.2 cm.)
    Painted in 1958


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    I have created a new kind of face [...] I have drawn physiognomy way beyond Picasso, in completely new terms [...] I am the only artist who has taken it a step further.
    (Y. Dalmia, Souza in London, New Delhi, 2004, p. 10)
    The slashes, slits, and lacerations that scar the male heads in all four Souza works are a product of the stylistic innovation during the artist's sojourn in postwar London. A devastated cityscape plagued by smog, food shortages, and widespread discontent provided Souza the stimuli to experiment and achieve a new degree of candor and dynamism as a draughtsman. The men he renders have been stripped of all worldly affectations; they appear bare and brutal, confronting the viewer with large eyes and a piercing gaze. The artistic dialogue with the European modernists is tangible as is Souza's signature cynicism, which inspires his depictions of the hypocrisy and malice of mankind.

    Provenance

    Private American collection, acquired from the artist circa 1959