In Palestine, George Lambert found a landscape that captured his imagination with almost as much force as his home country. He was greatly taken by the beauty of the Middle East: 'These sand-hills take on shapes and curves', he wrote, 'cut concave and convex, interwoven into an entrancing pattern, here rhythmical, there jagged and eccentrically posed.'
The stylised geometry of the hills in this painting and themisty purples and blues of the background represented the emergence of a modernist sensibility in Lambert's work that paved the way for future experiments by Australian landscape painters. He described the mountains around Jericho as 'jagged serrated masses of colour in strong light and shade'.
oil on canvas
30.7 x 40.7 cm stretcher; 44.0 x 54.2 x 5.6 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, brown oil "G.W.L.". Not dated.
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Orientalism - Delacroix to Klee:
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
George Lambert retrospective: heroes & icons, National Gallery of Australia, Parkes, 29 Jun 2007–16 Sep 2007
Mad through the darkness: Australian artists and the Great War, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Apr 2015–11 Oct 2015
Referenced in 5 publications
Roger Benjamin, Ursula Prunster, Lynne Thornton and Mounira Khemir, Orientalism – Delacroix to Klee, Sydney, 1997-1998, 150 (colour illus.). cat.no. 88
Ian Burn, National life and landscape - Australian painting 1900-1940, Sydney, 1990, 190 (colour illus.). plate no. 190
Betty Churcher, The art of war, 'The birth of a legend', pg. 1-47, Carlton, 2004, 46 (colour illus.). NOTE: this is another painting titled 'The road to Jericho' in the collection of the Australian War Memorial of the Palestinian landscape depicted in the AGNSW work.
Roslynn Haynes, Seeking the Centre, 'Geography is never innocent: or, what the explorers wrote in the landscape', pg. 58-84, Cambridge, 1998, 80-81 (colour illus.), 163..
Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Earth, sky and paint', pg. 149-150, Sydney, 2000, 155 (colour illus.), 301.