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Francis Newton Souza

Francis Newton Souza (April 12, 1924 - March 28, 2002) was an Indian artist. He was the first avant-garde artist from India to achieve widespread recognition in the West.

Born in Goa to Christian parents, he studied at the Sir J. J. School of Art, but was expelled in 1942 because of his support for the Quit India Movement. After this he founded the Bombay Progressive Artists' Group to encourage Indian artists to participate in the international avant-garde. However, in 1949, after India became independent, he left the country for London. The Institute of Contemporary Art included work of his in a 1954 exhibition, and other shows followed. His literary talents also helped his career after the publication of the autobiographical work Nirvana of a Maggot in Encounter, a journal then edited by Stephen Spender. His book Words and Lines published 1959 cemented his literary reputation.

Souza's career developed steadily, and he participated in several shows, receiving positive reviews from John Berger. His style was, as Berger pointed out, deliberately eclectic: essentially Expressionist in character, but also drawing on the post-war Art Brut movement and elements of British Neo-romanticism. After 1967 he settled in New York, but returned to India shortly before his death.
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