Self Portrait with Gladioli1922 by George Washington Lambert

In Self Portrait with Gladioli Lambert deliberately depicted himself as a precious, self-assured aesthete. In this, he visualized the thoughts expressed in a letter to Amy on 25 Nov. 1921:

I am a luxury, a hot house rarity... Scoffed at for preciousness. Despised for resembling a Chippendale chair in a country where timber is cheap.

He was a dedicated artist who worked to the point of exhaustion, but he portrayed himself, not as he was, but as the affected, self-admiring dandy he thought others considered him to be.

To paint himself thus required, as the critic for the Australasian newspaper suggested on 24 Feb. 1923, ‘courage, self-analysis and amazing technical skill’. His gaze is quizzical; he placed himself under self-scrutiny. He stood in an apparently careless attitude, but studiously posed, with his hands splayed out and showing ‘articulations of nerve and sinew’.

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Media: oil on canvas