Provenance: Private English collection. Acquired directly from the artist and thence by descent to the present owner
Souza said 'Renaissance painters painted men and women making them look like angels. I paint for angels, to show them what men and women really look like.' Souza's heads of the 1950's and 1960's are amongst his strongest works which were executed during his stay in London between 1949 and 1967. His exaggerated and distorted images are personal and individualistic but at the same time recognisable. The robes in this image are reminiscent of his paintings of cardinals. The religious imagery of the Roman Catholic Church had influenced Souza greatly, especially the grandeur of its services, the embroidered drapery, and possibly what he saw as its hypocrisy.
Francis Newton Souza (India, 1924-2002) Red Portrait