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Australian art

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Pan is dead (still life)



George W Lambert

Russia, Australia

1873 - 1930


'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 perception 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.


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


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

George W Lambert

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 5 publications


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 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 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, Sydney, Sep 2013, 22 (colour illus.).