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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

George Judah Cohen, 1925

George Lambert

oil on canvas (frame: 147.0 cm x 122.5 cm, support: 125.5 cm x 101.5 cm)

George Judah Cohen (1842–1937), banker, grew up in Sydney and attended university in London before taking over the Maitland office of his father’s wholesale firm, David Cohen and Co., when he was just twenty-three. Returning to Sydney with a reputation as a financial expert, he joined the board of the Commercial Banking Company in 1885. After steering the company through the financial crises of the 1890s, he became its chairman of directors in 1901. He held this position for thirty-two years, during the last of which the bank weathered the Depression. From the late 1880s to the early 1930s, Cohen was also chairman of many other companies, including Australian Gas Light, United Insurance, Tooth and Co. and the Sydney Exchange. He and his wife Rebecca Levy amassed a significant collection of antiques and European paintings in their home, Engadine, in Onslow Avenue, Potts Point. He was a liberal, yet low-key, supporter of various charities, president of the Board of Management of the Great Synagogue for some fifteen years, and a lifelong advocate for the Jewish community.

George Lambert (1873-1930) painted George Judah Cohen on commission from the Commercial Banking Company, and entered the portrait in the Archibald Prize of 1925. Although it did not win, many commentators, notably Sydney Ure Smith (making a public statement on behalf of the Society of Artists) thought it ‘immeasurably the best’ entry and preferred it to the winner, John Longstaff’s portrait of a visiting Russian actor, Maurice Moscovich. Lambert won the Archibald Prize two years later with his portrait of Mrs Annie Murdoch.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the National Australia Bank 2002

Accession number: 2002.2

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

George Lambert (age 52 in 1925)

George Judah Cohen (age 83 in 1925)

Subject professions

Business, trades and industry

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

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Magazine article by Angus Trumble, 2016

Angus Trumble treats the gallery’s collection with a dab hand.

George Lambert portrait story video: 1 minute
George Lambert portrait story video: 1 minute
George Lambert portrait story video: 1 minute
George Lambert portrait story video: 1 minute

George Lambert

'Self Portrait with Gladioli'

Portrait story

An examination of the life and times of George Lambert through the gesture and pose in his self portrait. 

Self portrait with gladioli, 1922 George Lambert
Self portrait with gladioli, 1922 George Lambert
Self portrait with gladioli, 1922 George Lambert
Self portrait with gladioli, 1922 George Lambert

Money and swat

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2007

Andrew Sayers discusses the real cost of George Lambert's Self portrait with gladioli 1922.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.