F N Souza: Works from the Collection of Barbara Zinkant

Paavni Chowdhry | December 8, 2022 | Art

F N Souza (1924-2002) was an Indian painter and Padma Shri recipient who is considered to be one of India’s most important modernists of the post-independence era. Born in Goa, India and educated in Mumbai, (where he exhibited his works for the first time in 1947), Souza was a pioneer of modern art in India and his works are characterised by his bold use of colours, distorted figures, and expressionistic brushstrokes that were often deemed controversial as they tackled issues of class, religion, politics, and sexuality/identity.

He is also known for his use of satire and humour in his works, which often reflected the social changes that were taking place in India in the 1950s and 1960s. His works were also heavily inspired by his relationship with his wife Barbara Zinkant and Zinkant was a frequent subject in Souza’s artwork, often appearing in the form of religious figures or symbols.

F N SOUZA (1924‒2002)


Signed and dated ‘Souza/ 98’ (upper right)


Chemical alteration and marker on magazine paper

11.75 x 8.75 in (29.8 x 22.1 cm)

An American art historian and writer, Zinkant first met Souza while he was living in London, and their relationship was an open one despite the fact that Souza was married. Zinkant was a major influence on Souza’s art, inspiring him to explore topics such as religion and sexuality in his work. She also helped Souza gain international recognition for his art, organising several exhibitions of his work in London and New York. She also wrote several books and articles about Souza, helping to spread his fame beyond India. 

Auctioning some of Souza’s works from a special collection this winter is acclaimed auction house Saffronart as it returns with its annual Winter Online Auction on 14-15 December 2022. Featuring masterpieces by some of the most distinguished names in modern and contemporary Indian art the auction house will be presenting F N Souza: Works from the Collection of Barbara Zinkant –  an auction of 65 lots (all of which are offered at No Reserve) that will take place live at Saffronart’s Mumbai gallery on 17 December 2022,. 

F N SOUZA (1924‒2002)

Untitled (Still Life with Juxtaposed Forms)

Signed and dated ‘Souza 1952’ (upper left)


Oil on board

47.75 x 42 in (121.3 x 106.7 cm)

The auction is led by F N Souza’s Untitled (Still Life with Juxtaposed Forms), a rare still life from 1952 that is rich with symbolism and reflective of the artist’s complex relationship with religion. Featured across the catalogue are also the diverse mediums and themes Souza engaged with across his artistic practice. Ranging from pencil and charcoal drawings on paper, acrylic and watercolour works, to chemical alterations, the lots include portraits, nudes, still life, and landscapes. 

Saffronart will also host a special talk between Barbara Zinkant, collector and ex-wife of the artist and Conor Macklin, Director of the Grosvenor Gallery, London. The talk is to be held at Saffronart’s gallery in Mumbai on 16 December 2022.


Images via Saffronart.

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