Untitled (Landscape)
signed and dated 'Souza 75' (upper left)
oil on canvas
41.6 x 58.7 cm. (16 3/8 x 23 1/8 in.)
Painted in 1975
Osian's Mumbai, 5 December 2002, lot 143
Acquired from the above by the present owner

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Jessica Hsu
Jessica Hsu

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Lot Essay

Following nearly two decades living in North London, Souza emigrated once again to settle in the United Sates in 1967. What followed was a particularly joyful period for the artist, during which his works became more abstracted and full of riotous cacophonies of bright colour, often squeezed directly from the tube. This present painting from 1975 encapsulates this iconic optimistic period.
Inspired by his immediate surroundings, the genre of landscape was a cornerstone of Souza's oeuvre. Fellow artist Jagdish Swaminathan has described Souza as a "painter of cityscapes and religious themes. While in the latter he is loaded with a troubled presentiment, in the former he is singularly devoid of emotive inhibitions [...] Souza's cityscapes are the congealed visions of a mysterious world." (J. Swaminathan, 'souza's Exhibition", Lalit Kala Contemporary 40, March 1995, p. 31)
The present landscape is inspired by the prominent Moghul architecture of North India and mosques. Against a piercing blue night sky, the white dome and slender minarets, most famous in iconic structures like the Taj Mahal, appear to billow in the wind, just like the green trees in the foreground. Unlike the artist's malevolent religious landscapes of the 1950s and 60s, this painting with its riot of colours unconstrained by the draughtsman's line, seems to almost dance with iridescent joy.

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