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Australian art

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Important people



George W Lambert

Russia, Australia

1873 - 1930


… Mr Lambert stated that a slight allegory might be suggested by the composition of his work, as it represented motherhood and the future generations, the fighting forces of the world and the administrative qualities, without which the world (the red cart wheel) would not go round smoothly.

Herald, 18 March 1921

By creating a portrait of ordinary people - a flower-seller, a clerk and a boxer - George W Lambert sought to parody the convention of only those with wealth or social status having their portraits painted. He questioned social values by mixing people of different social classes.

While Lambert's approach was formalist, emphasising design and composition, his subject reflected various interests of the day as well as his acquaintance with Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, whom Lambert particularly admired for his ridicule of social snobbery.




Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


134.7 x 171.0 cm stretcher; 152.8 x 189.4 x 8.5 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed upper c., green oil inside an oval "G.W.LAMBERT/ ...". Not dated.


Purchased 1930



Accession number


Artist information

George W Lambert

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 8 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 24 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 2005, Sydney, 2005, 18.

Julian Ashton, The Art of George W Lambert, Sydney, 1924, (colour illus.). not paginated, plate no. 2

Maurice Brodzky (Editor), Table talk, Melbourne, 15 Apr 1921, page unknown.

Candice Bruce, Brought to Light: Australian Art 1850–1965 from the Queensland Art Gallery collection, 'Family and a Special Friend. George Washington Lambert Portrait group (The mother)', pg. 102-7, Brisbane, 1998, 107.

Sarah Engledow', The world of Thea Proctor, 'The world of Thea Proctor', pg. 16-84, Canberra, 2005, 39.

puzzle painters: Quaint humour at the Grosvenor Gallery'., Daily express, 'New conundrums, London, 16 Apr 1914, page unknown. Exhibition review of the International Society's 1914 exhibition.

Anne Gray (Editor), Art and Artifice: George Lambert (1873-1930), 1996.

Anne Gray, The Edwardians: secrets and desires, 'The Edwardians', pg. 10-71, Canberra, 2004, 45, 46 (colour illus.), 48, 65, 188 (colour illus.). 74

Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'George Lambert's drawings', pg. 22-23, Sydney, Oct 2006, 22.

Amy Lambert, Thirty years of an artist's life : the career of G.W. Lambert, A.R.A, Sydney, 1977, 54, 55.

Hal Missingham, A retrospective exhibition of Australian painting, Sydney, 1953. 87

William Moore, The story of Australian art from the earliest known art of the continent to the art of today (Vol. 1), 'Galleries', pg. 179-214, Sydney, 1934, (illus.).

Andrew Motion, The Lamberts. George, Constant & Kit, London, 1986, (illus.). plate no. 9

Barry Pearce, Look, 'New Look for 20th Century Australian Galleries', pg. 13, Heidelberg, Nov 1998, 13.

Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Introduction', pg. 10-16, Sydney, 2000, 14, 15 (colour illus.), 96 (colour illus.), 301.

Bernard William Smith, Place, taste and tradition: a study of Australian art since 1788, 'The aftermath of Impressionism', pg. 146-180, South Melbourne, 1979, 152 (illus.), 154. plate no. 56

Bernard William Smith and Terry Smith, Australian painting 1788-1990, 'Leviticus 1913-32', pg. 167-204, South Melbourne, 1991, 182, 184 (illus.). illus. no. 105

Terry Smith, Transformations in Australian art: The nineteenth century - landscape, colony and nation [Volume One], 'Landscape with feeling: Golden summers and modern life', pg. 107-123, St Leonards, 2002, 119.

Wayne Tunnicliffe and Deborah Edwards, Look, ‘New Australia’, pg. 24-27, Sydney, May 2012, 24, 26 (colour illus.).

Donald Williams, In our own image: the story of Australian art, Sydney, 1995, 85 (colour illus.).

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Home: an Australian quarterly, Sydney, Sep 1930, back cover (colour illus.). cover design by the late G.W. Lambert, A.R.A., front cover shows the work 'Head of a girl' also by Lambert.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Bulletin, Sydney, 01 Sep 1921, page unknown.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, 'George Lambert. Purchases of His Works', Sydney, 23 Sep 1930, 4.

Editor Unknown (Editor), The Sydney morning herald, 'Society of Artists: the Spring exhibition', pg. 6, Sydney, 09 Sep 1921, 6.