Art exhibition evokes the Sixties sex workers of Belsize Park
- Credit: Courtesy of Grosvenor Gallery
The days when Belsize Park was a red light district are evoked in an exhibition by Indian modern artist Francis Newton Souza.
Born in Goa in 1924 to strict Catholic parents, he said his early work reflected the "sin and sensuality" he witnessed around him - from religious iconography to erotic Indian art.
A founding member of the Progressive Artists Group in Bombay, Souza moved to Hampstead in the mid 1950s and stayed until 1967 when he emigrated to the USA. During his time in north London he travelled extensively around Europe and exhibited in Geneva and Rome. But he was sufficiently hard up to accept free art materials from Reeves and Sons to complete his works.
They included several Hampstead landscapes, expressive images of London terraces bathed in vibrant colours that look as if they are transported from a faraway land. Now an online exhibition at Grosvenor Gallery in London, FN Newton 52 Years On Paper (1946-1998) is showing works from throughout the artist's career.
It includes, Untitled (Study for Young Ladies of Belsize Park), 1962, which was inspired by Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, a 1968 image of Brigitte Bardot, and a 1958 Reclining Nude from Souza's Hampstead years.
Picasso's painting references his time in Barcelona when he would buy his paper and paints in the Calle d'Avignon "under the gaze of prostitutes".
Souza, who met Picasso in Paris in 1951, felt the bustling atmosphere of his NW3 neighbourhood echoed that description of Barcelona. His 1962 study for Young Ladies of Belsize Park depicts a brothel scene which mirrors the postures of the original.
- 1 Major tube strike to follow Queen's Platinum Jubilee long weekend
- 2 Barnet leader pledges council tax rebate and an end to outsourcing
- 3 Walking book club: Hampstead Heath, Death and The Penguin
- 4 Camden teacher's cycle ride to find a cure for daughter's 'sleeping beauty' syndrome
- 5 Calls to make road in front of a Highgate school safer
- 6 Parliament Hill flower shop comes to pupils' rescue
- 7 Covid: Slight rise in admissions but fewer patients in hospital overall
- 8 Belsize Village restaurant hires young Ukrainian refugee
- 9 Two-year waitlist for mental health patients at Tavistock Centre
- 10 VOTE: Which north London fish and chip shop is your favourite?
The painting itself was sold at auction by Christies in 2018 for $250,000.
FN Souza 52 Years on Paper is available to view online until March 7.