'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.
Still life (Pan)
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]
Shown in 4 exhibitions
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:
- Dubbo Regional Art Gallery, Dubbo 05 May 2001–12 Aug 2001
- New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale 14 Sep 2001–28 Oct 2001
- Albury Regional Gallery, Albury 04 Jan 2002–27 Jan 2002
- Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria 09 Feb 2002–24 Mar 2002
- Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre 06 Apr 2002–02 Jun 2002
- Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Bathurst 05 Jul 2002–18 Aug 2002
George Lambert retrospective: heroes & icons, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 29 Jun 2007–16 Sep 2007
Still life, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 Jul 2013–23 Apr 2014
Referenced in 5 publications
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. cat.no. 48
Anne Gray, George Lambert (1873-1930) catalogue raisonné: paintings and sculpture, drawings in public collections, Perth, 1996, 18, 44, 234. cat.no. P140
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 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.).