|In this self-portrait, the artist is seated beside Maria Figuerado, his first wife. They met in 1942, when she bought his painting Ave Maria from the artist’s first exhibition, held at the Bombay Art Society.1 They married in 1947 and Figuerado was a loyal supporter of Francis Newton Souza as he struggled to launch his career in London in the 1950s. After the couple separated, Figuerado actively promoted Souza’s work and other Indian artists at her Art38 Gallery in London’s West End. In this painting, Souza captured their close relationship: an attentive Figuerado gently rests her hand on Souza’s shoulder.
1Yashodhara Dalmia, The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 90.