A large oil on Masonite painting by late Indian American artist Francis Newton Souza sold for $235,000 at an auction held May 17 by New York-based Weiss Auctions.
Titled, “Head in a Landscape,” the work was impressive at 35 inches by 47 and a half inches, according to a press release, which added that it was also completely fresh to the market, making the important estate find that much more “attractive” to the collectors who were eager to bid on it.
Souza was raised by his dressmaker mother in India and attended art school in Mumbai but was expelled in 1942 for supporting the Quit India Movement, noted the release. Five years later, he helped found the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group to encourage young Indian artists to become part of the international avant-garde movement. He moved to London, England in 1949.
He was the first post-independence artist of Indian-origin to achieve high recognition in the West.
Souza’s style was rooted in expressionism but was influenced by Art Brut and Neo-Romanticism. His subjects were often female nudes and Christian imagery but also included still-life paintings and landscapes. Souza lived and worked in New York, from 1967 until shortly before his death in 2002, when he returned home to India.