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All in the Family

by Andrew Sayers AM, 1 June 2002

Portrait launch of Major-General Paul Cullen AC CBE DSO and Bar ED (Rtd) and George Judah Cohen.

Major General Paul Cullen, 2002 by Mathew Lynn
Major General Paul Cullen, 2002 by Mathew Lynn

This work was unveiled alongside a 1925 painting of George Judah Cohen (1842-1937), a major figure in the history of Australian banking, keen philanthropist and grandfather of Major-General Cullen. The National Portrait Gallery acquired the painting by the eminent Australian artist George Lambert (1873-1930) of George Judah Cohen as a gift from the National Australia Bank. The Cullen portrait is a gift of the New South Wales Jewish War Memorial.

Lambert was commissioned by the CBC to paint this portrait of Cohen, and entered the work in the Archibald Prize of 1925. The work featured in the exhibition 150 Years of Australian Art at the AGNSW in 1938.

Mathew Lynn a Sydney artist, much in demand for commissioned portraits, painted the forthright portrait of Cullen over a series of meetings at his property in the Southern Highlands and in the artist's studio in Sydney. The artist relates that on one occasion he rode out with Cullen to muster some cattle; the old soldier rounded them up, but asked Lynn to count them, as his sight is no longer what it was. Later he joked that Lynn is a better painter than horseman.