Born to Roman Catholic parents in village Saligao, Goa, then under
Portuguese occupation. His father dies when he is just three months
Joins Sir J. J. School of Art, Bombay, for a diploma in painting.
Enters his paintings in the Bombay Art Society Annual Exhibition,
only to have them rejected.
Is expelled from the art school for his participation in the Quit India
movement; in anger at being expelled, paints The Blue Lady, which
he displays at his first solo exhibition the same year. The painting is
bought by Dr. Hermann Goetz for the Baroda Museum.
A nude self-portrait that is part of his exhibition at Bombay Art Society
receives severe opprobrium; he’s forced to ‘cover up’ the offending
parts of the painting, generating controversy.
Joins the Communist Party but quits. Forms Progressive Artists’ Group with S. H. Raza, K. H. Ara, M. F. Husain, S. K. Bakre and H. A. Gade.
Participates in an exhibition of Indian art at Burlington House, London.
Two of his works are removed from an exhibition and his flat is raided
by the police to seize ‘obscene’ paintings.
The Progressives hold their first exhibition at Baroda Museum at the
invitation of Dr. Goetz, who also buys their works for the museum
collection. Leaves India for England with fellow artists
S. H. Raza and Akbar
Indian High Commissioner Krishna Menon commissions him to paint
murals for the Indian Students’ Bureau on West Cromwell Road; they
are destroyed in 1959 when the Bureau is demolished.
An exhibition of Souza's works is organised by Menon at India
Holds a joint exhibition in Zurich along with S. K. Bakre and M. F.
Has his first solo at the newly opened Gallery One promoted by Victor
Musgrave which coincides with the publication of his autobiographical
piece, ‘Nirvana of a Maggot’ in the journal Encounter, edited by
Critic John Berger terms his art ‘imaginative vision that is truly
Harold Kovner, a wealthy New Yorker, patronises Souza with a
monthly allowance to paint for him over the next four years.
Paints the iconic work, Birth.
Is awarded the John Moore exhibition prize.
Represents Britain at the Guggenheim International Award.
Publishes his book Words and Lines detailing his shocking and brazen
approach to art.
Travels to Italy on an Italian government scholarship but finds no
takers for his paintings.
Queen Elizabeth visits his exhibition. Paints some of his best works.
Participates in ‘Four Centuries of Indian Painting’ at Sao Paulo and
Rio in Brazil.
Wins the Wakefield Museum’s ‘collector’s choice’ recognition.
Paints his well-known work, Oedipus Rex.
Edward Mullins’s book F N Souza: An Introduction is published. Paints Young Ladies in Belsize Park, an adaptation of Picasso’s Les
Demoiselles d’Avignon. Paints Seated Nude around the same time as Nude on Blue Armchair.
Souza’s painting featuring Three Men is used on the cover of the book
A Language in Common, printed by the Times Literary Supplement.
Divorces wife Maria to marry sixteen-year-old Barbara Zinkat.
Studio International Art magazine runs an in-depth feature on Souza.
Settles in New York to advance his career; holds a solo show in Detroit.
Creates his ‘chemical’ paintings, or ‘chemical alterations’, an invented
medium and technique involving the erasure of images on printed
magazine paper and painting over it.
Visits California and paints cheerful countryside landscapes in an
entirely different style.
Holds a solo exhibition of his oil paintings inspired by Indian
mythological themes at Dhoomimal Gallery, New Delhi.
Exhibits his works as part of Commonwealth Artists of Fame, London.
Is part of ‘Contemporary Indian Art’, curated by Geeta Kapur, Richard
Bartholomew and Akbar Padamsee in London.
Features in the exhibition ‘India: Myth and Reality, Aspects of Modern
Art’ organised by Museum of Modern Art, Oxford.
Releases New Poems on the occasion of his solo exhibition at Pundole
Art Gallery, Bombay.
Curated by Ebrahim Alkazi, a retrospective is held of Souza’s works
jointly at Shridharani Gallery, Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi, and
Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay.
His Last Supper has a significant critical impact and comes to be
considered one of his major works.
Tate Modern acquires his landmark 1959 work, Crucifixion.
Is honoured with the Kalidas Samman by the Madhya Pradesh
A retrospective of his works from 1950-99 is held at Kumar Gallery,
Makes his last painting, The Face of the Christ, before passing away
Just a little after his death, Grosvenor Gallery in London holds an
exhibition called ‘Souza and Friends’ in which his contemporaries,
S. H. Raza, M. F. Husain, Akbar Padamsee and Ram Kumar
Tate Britain pays tribute to him with a retrospective, 'Religion and
Souza’s Birth, painted in 1955, sells at a Christie’s auction for $2.5
million, a record price, bought by Harmony Foundation, Mumbai. It
is auctioned again in 2015 for $4 million and acquired by the Kiran
Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi.
Yashodhara Dalmia curates an exhibition of Souza’s portraits and heads titled Volte Face: Souzas Iconoclastic Vision, at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. In June 2010 Christie’s auction 140 lots from the Souza estate and realises 5 million pounds.
Man and Woman Laughing sets a record at Rs. 16.8 crore at an auction
in New Delhi.
Tate Britain dedicates a room to his works for its exhibition ‘All Too