• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1975

    South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art

    20 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 85

    FRANCIS NEWTON SOUZA (1924-2002)

    Untitled

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    FRANCIS NEWTON SOUZA (1924-2002)
    Untitled
    signed 'Souza 61' (center left)
    oil on canvas
    26½ x 49 3/8 in. (67.4 x 125.4 cm.)
    Painted in 1961


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    Francis Newton Souza demonstrates the inherent tension between nature and civilization in his landscapes. His works, which often depict the sky as a viscous force against the buildings and trees below, become treatises on the conflating powers of god, man and the environment.

    The structural, almost architectonic, compositions of Francis Newton Souza's earlier landscape paintings began to dissolve soon after 1961. It seems as if the power of these brushstrokes will at any moment cause the collapse of representation in the work, instilling the painting with a dynamism and energy that is quite striking. His representations of foliage, cityscapes and skies seem to invoke the style of Claude Monet's late impressionist paintings as well as legendary composition and style of Vincent Van Gogh.

    Collapsing depth of field, the artist circumvents a traditional one-point perspective allowing his structures to build tightly upon each other in a highly expressionistic manner. His color palette refuses to coincide with nature's predicated hues, highlighting instead the artist's skill with pattern, composition and form where Souza expertly uses line to underscore this clash between the natural and the manmade.

    Provenance

    Gallery One, London, 1961