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FRANCIS NEWTON SOUZA (1924-2002); MOHAN SHARMA (1942-1988)
FRANCIS NEWTON SOUZA (1924-2002); MOHAN SHARMA (1942-1988)

Untitled (Study for Cactus Landscape); A Woman at her Mirror with her Attendants; Notre Dame

FRANCIS NEWTON SOUZA (1924-2002); MOHAN SHARMA (1942-1988) Untitled (Study for Cactus Landscape); A Woman at her Mirror with her Attendants; Notre Dame signed and dated 'Mohan 76'; further titled, signed, dated and inscribed '"NOTRE DAME" MOHAN SHARMA 76 - 44" x 25"' (on the reverse) one work on tracing paper; opaque pigments on paper; oil on canvas 9 3/8 x 13 7/8 in. (23.8 x 35.2 cm.) 7¼ x 4½ (18.4 x 11.4 cm.) image; 9¼ x 7 in. (23.5 x 17.8 cm.) folio; 43¾ x 25 in. (111.1 x 63.5 cm.) One executed in 1976 3 (3)
Works by Mohan Sharma are formerly from the Maria Souza Collection

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Lot Essay

The mid 1960s marked a watershed in Souza's life and oeuvre. A relentless drive to innovate and reinvent his artistic production during this time, perhaps corresponding to the succession of upheavals in his personal life, saw seminal but short-lived series of works including his 'Black on Black' paintings and 'Souza Kalam', a collaboration with artist Mohan Sharma.

Born into a family of Nathdwara painters, Sharma graduated from the Sir J.J. School of Art in Bombay in 1965, the same year he exhibited with Souza at the Taj Art Gallery in the city. The twenty works on display were drawn by Souza, with an uncharacteristically fine and delicate line, and skilfully painted in gouache by Sharma, in an effort to revive and contemporize the genre of miniature painting. The relationship between the artists was clearly a symbiotic one; Sharma's career was given a head start as a result of his association with the established artist, and Souza found new inspiration in the contemporary miniatures that Sharma painted. Sharma's miniature painting included in this lot was likely the starting point for Souza's own painting on the same subject, also illustrated. This lot also includes one of Souza's instructional drawings for Sharma, which resulted in the work Cactus Landscape, illustrated alongside.

In 1975, ten years after this collaboration, Sharma was awarded a British Council scholarship to work and study at Middlesex Polytechnic, the University of London. In London, he reconnected with Maria Souza, and showed his new works at group and one-man exhibitions that she organized at Arts 38, the gallery on Homer Street that she owned and operated. Sharma's stylized, geometric version of Notre Dame, painted on a short trip to Paris during his stay in London, was likely displayed in his 1976 exhibition at Arts 38 and retained by Maria for her personal collection.


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