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Lot #32 

Josef Lada (1887–1957)


gouache on cardboard
25 × 39 cm
Estimate: 2,000,000 CZK - 3,000,000 CZK
Starting price: 1,500,000 CZK
Hammer price:
4,100,000 CZK
This popular subject-matter, executed by Lada in many variations, is a poetic depiction of the spirit of
Czech village, its local folklore, and an idealised memory of the artist’s childhood. Being the youngest of four cobbler children, Josef Lada was born in Hrusice, Central Bohemia, from where he drew inspiration throughout his life. This lyrical scene was created in the very turbulent war year of 1944, which paradoxically was one of the most prolific years of Lada’s work. At that time, he strengthened his position as leading illustrator for countless books for children and adults, many of which became icons of Czech literature largely due to Lada’s contribution.
The nostalgically approached scenery of the presented artwork is based on a series of Lada’s favourite May motifs suggestively depicting times long past, of which he created several dozen variants from various angles with partial modifications. With his distinctive style based on strong black outlines, Lada introduced the beholder to the world of a peaceful village, in the middle of which he portrayed two small figures, a girl and a boy, who are calmly heading towards the village with an unmistakable church on the horizon. Lada used these kinds of paintings full of inner peace as a way to escape from the reality of dramatic war time, which gave him the opportunity to create his own harmonious world. Assessed during consultations by prof. J. Zemina and PhDr. R. Michalová, Ph.D. The expertise by PhDr. P. Pečinková, CSc., is attached.