London: This exhibition is devoted to Souza’s work on paper from all through his profession

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Francis Newton Souza 1924-2002. Untitled (landscape with collage and chemical), 1997. Signed and dated “Souza 97” upper left. Chemical placed on magazine on paper. 45.7 x 30.2 cm. 18 x 11 7/8 inFN Souza

The naked creations

Notable works in this suite include: Untitled (Study for Young Women in Belsize Park), 1962, inspired by Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon; Untitled (Brigitte Bardot), 1968, which was an international sex symbol in the 1950s and 1960s, and Reclining Nude, 1958, which was featured on Eugene I. Schuster’s show list of the London Arts Group, Detroit.

Each figure reflects in a simplified style the demeanor of Picasso’s Demoiselles. There is, however, a sensuality emanating from these five distorted but carefully assembled figures that Souza distilled from his analysis of the lush traditional sculptures found in Khajuraho temples in India. Souza projects this brothel scene into his own context and provides a raw transfiguration of what he sees as contemporary icons.

Picasso’s painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) also provided the context in which Souza designed the study for young women in Belsize Park in 1962, more than fifty years later. At the time, Souza lived in Hampstead, London, and its bustling atmosphere and nearby red light district of Belsize Park reflected Picasso’s description of Barcelona. 1962 was thirteen years since Souza had left India, was already established in London and Paris and also exhibited in Rome and Geneva. His art flourished in Europe and enabled him to explore topics such as the female figure in his work as a powerful and subversive aesthetic tool. Souza’s own words are the best thoughts to ponder: “Renaissance painted men and women to look like angels. I paint for angels to show them what women really look like.”

“FN Souza 52 Years on Paper” runs until March 7, 2021 at the Grosvenor Gallery in London. These will be exhibited in the gallery’s online viewing room in February. And can be viewed in the gallery by appointment.