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FRANCIS NEWTON SOUZA (1924-2002)
PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION, NEW YORK
FRANCIS NEWTON SOUZA (1924-2002)

Supper at Emmaus

Details
FRANCIS NEWTON SOUZA (1924-2002)
Supper at Emmaus
signed and dated 'Souza 75' (center left); further signed, titled, dated and inscribed 'F.N. SOUZA / SUPPER AT EMMAUS / 1975 / OIL ON CANVAS / 18 X 26' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
19½ x 26½ in. (49.5 x 67.3 cm.)
Painted in 1975
Provenance
Saffronart, 2 December 2004, lot 52
Christie's New York, 30 March 2006, lot 65
Bodhi Art, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Literature
A. Kurtha, Francis Newton Souza: Bridging Western and Indian Modern Art, Ahmedabad, 2006, p. 28 (illustrated)

Lot Essay

Francis Newton Souza was fascinated with the visual language of the Catholic Church and it informed his paintings long after he ceased attending Mass with his grandmother in Goa in the late 1940s. The subject of this 1975 painting is a popular biblical account of the Supper at Emmaus taken from the New Testament Book of Luke 24: 30-31, an episode represented by several artists including Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio in the early Seventeenth Century, and to which Souza has returned many times in his work since the 1950s.

In the story, two men are joined by a disguised Jesus Christ as they discuss his miraculous crucifixion and resurrection. Out of goodwill, the two men invite Christ to dine with them, and eventually his identity is revealed over the breaking of bread at the table. Souza chooses to illustrate the crucial moment at which Christ's identity is revealed, yet he cleverly depicts the two men in anonymity, highly abstracting their visages while the masked Christ becomes the only decipherable figure.

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