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An image of Pan is dead (still life) by George W Lambert

George W Lambert

(Russia, Australia 1873 – 1930)

Pan is dead (still life)
Other titles:
Still life (Pan)
Still Life
Media category
Materials used
oil on canvas

76.5 x 63.5 cm stretcher; 105.0 x 90.0 x 10.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed l.r., oil "GWL" [monogram]
Purchased 1952
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

'Pan is dead (still life)' depicts a sculpted head of Pan beside white gloves and a glass vase filled with white roses. Its literary title evokes notions of mythology and the spiritual force of nature. The painting highlights George W Lambert's interest in the appearance of objects represented in paint as opposed to the reality of those objects. The solid head of Pan and the fragile flowers exemplify his investigation: the sculpted curls of Pan's hair resemble the rose blooms, which have been sharply defined to create this conflict between preception and reality.

The work was painted following Lambert's performance of Pan in the play 'The awakening of Pan' (1909), for which he sculpted a clay head of Pan modelled to his own appearance, adding horns and curls characteristic of the allegorical figure. It is the plaster cast of this clay head that is represented in this painting.

Bibliography (5)

Anne Gray, George W. Lambert retrospective: heros and icons, 'George W. Lambert: exposed', pg. 1-39, Canberra, 2007, 16, 47, 48 (colour illus.), 117 (colour illus.), 129, 212. 48

Anne Gray, Art and Artifice: George Lambert (1873-1930), 'Vision and design', pg. 46-57, 1996, 48, 63 (illus.), 203. Generally relevant information, pg. 51-52.

Anne Gray, George Lambert (1873-1930) catalogue raisonné: paintings and sculpture, drawings in public collections, Perth, 1996, 18, 44, 234. P140

Anne McLaughlin, People and destiny: George Lambert and Federation, 'People and destiny: George Lambert and Federation', pg. 10-33, Dubbo, 2001, 23-24, 38. titled 'Pan is dead'

Jade Williamson, Look, 'Brought to light: still life from the Australian collection', pg. 22-23, Newtown, Sep 2013, 22 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (4)

Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000

People and destiny: George Lambert and Federation:

George Lambert retrospective: heroes & icons, National Gallery of Australia, Parkes, 29 Jun 2007–16 Sep 2007

Still life, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Jul 2013–23 Apr 2014