Francis Newton Souza
1924 – 2002
Supper at Emmaus with the Believer and the Sceptic, 1958
Oil on canvas
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 1962
Installation image of Vision & Reality: 100 Years of Contemporary Art in Wakefield, December 2020. Photo: Nick Singleton
Francis Newton Souza was born in Goa, later becoming one of India’s most influential modern painters. In 1949, Souza moved to England where he continued to make expressive figurative work about religious subjects. Here, the artist depicts the story of two of Christ’s apostles, who after the Crucifixion met a stranger on the road to Emmaus. Over their meal the guest was revealed as the Resurrected Christ, but only one apostle could accept Christ’s identity. It is an allegory about faith in things we cannot see.
This is an important piece in Wakefield’s collection as one of the few modern British works by an artist of Asian descent. While Asian artists working in the UK during the post-war period are generally well represented in UK public collections, many have rarely been exhibited since their acquisition. The Hepworth Wakefield is actively working to address this through its displays and acquisitions.