Francis Newton Souza a founding member of the Progressive Artists’ Group of Bombay, and the first post-independence Indian artist to achieve high recognition in the West, will be the cynosure of all eyes at Christie’s fall sale titled ‘South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art/ on September 12, at the Rockefeller Plaza,New York. The sale,showcasing a rich collection of modernist and contemporary art is expected to auction F.N. Souza’s modernist masterpieces such as ‘Bust of a Man’ (1968) for over 8 crores. Other eye-stopping works of Souza on auction will be ‘Christ & the Adulteress/ (1963)and ‘Portrait of Oante’( 1968). Both these oil paintings are expected to fetch an auction price of around 5 crores and 3 crores respectively.
Sam Jose DE Souza, Executive Sales Director, F.N. Souza International Fine Arts Foundation and Family Trust Inc. says, “We are pleased that Mr F.N. Souza’s Goa collection is receiving recognition and promotion, his classical works painted in Goa are now valued on par with international grandmasters. We see this momentum continue and is well deserved for one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.”
Of these paintings ‘Bust of a Man’signals a dramatic shift from Souza’s earlier formalized imagery as the portrait is featured against a vibrant field of yellow spray, with architectonic black lines thrust to the extreme bottom edge of the painting, this work marks the start of what can be called Souza’s most abstract moment.
‘Christ & the Adulteress,’ brings to vivid life theparable in the Bible that narrates how an adulteress was brought before Christ by her accusers for punishment by stoning; to which Christ retorts “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” In this context, Souza is seen to be exploring the relationship between sinner and saint.
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