The first teacher of drawing Lada became the parish priest and passionate amateur painter Josef Ruzicka. Josef studied in Prague for a master in the production of theatrical scenery, then in the bookbinding workshop, drawing courses followed, and finally, the School of Industrial Art. However, he did not graduate from it, the academic system was not to the student’s liking. However, the absence of classical education did not prevent Joseph Lade from becoming not only a favorite artist in his native Czech Republic, but also a world celebrity.
Joseph Lada. Photo: Gallery "Dancing House"
Joseph Lada stayed in Prague, continued self-education, worked as an illustrator and cartoonist in magazines. His satirical drawings became more and more popular among readers. Their main theme was the order and bureaucracy of the Habsburg monarchy, as well as the daily life of citizens.
Joseph Lada "Spanking", 1911. Photo source:
Gallery "Dancing House"
“I met Jaroslav Hasek in 1907. This acquaintance gave me great joy. But I didn’t like the appearance of Hasek, honestly. I imagined the author, who was already well-known for his feuilletons, quite differently: it seemed to me that he should be older, that his face was more expressive than it actually was. In vain I looked for the usual features of a satirist: instead of a predatory nose, thin lips, a malicious look, I saw a round, half-childish face. Hasek was more like a son from a good family who doesn’t like too much to puzzle over various problems. The bezborodaya, ingenuous physiognomy, sincere eyes — everything looked more like a simple-minded first grader, and not a brilliant satirist. But as soon as Hasek spoke, the impression immediately changed. And soon I was convinced that he was on his mind. "
In 1921, Hasek asked a friend to draw a cover for his book The Adventures of the Good Soldier Schweik. As a result, Josef Lada created more than 500 illustrations. Interesting fact: Hasek never saw Schweik as we know him. The first one, invented and drawn in 1922, Schweik looked like a slim, provincial simpleton, and the ever-smiling, plump man with a round head and bulging ears appeared after Hasek’s death in 1924. This image became canonical, it is familiar to millions of readers.Joseph Lada. Illustrations to J. Hasek's novel “The Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk” Lada was also a famous storyteller, his works are unusual, naughty: “Fun is half the health, says an old Czech proverb, and we should be guided by it,” he said. Joseph Lada became one of the founders of the so-called modern Czech fairy tale. He wrote “Naughty Tales” - a collection of fairy tales resembling classic fairy tales, but in which everything happens “the opposite”. Thus, the princesses themselves have to save the ungodly youngsters to wherever they are and give balls to find their betrothed from the shoemaker left in a hurry; the king runs to Gonza, who lies on the stove, begs him to marry the princess and take over half the kingdom; and instead of the seven dwarfs, the princess falls to seven thieves, whom she begins to reeducate.Children's books of Lada caused such interest among young readers that they came to him in crowds and told about their impressions, and even gave advice - to draw a fox more red, or they asked to save the sheep waiting for the wolf with a knife, and then the obedient artist cleaned the wolf . Lada believed that the child more sensitively perceives injustice, offense and expects a happy ending of the story. Therefore, the artist always listened to the children, for him the advice of the children was more important than the opinions of adults. He knew a lot about the children's world of fiction and fantasy.Joseph Lada. Illustration for the fairy tale “The Cat Mikesh” The most famous literary works of Lada are the fairy tales “The Cat Mikesh” and “The Tale of the Sly Fox Girl”, which were translated into Russian, Serbian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean. Many of his works, such as “Kot Mikesh”, “The Fox”, “Naughty Tales”, later appeared on television screens in the form of animated films.
Now in Grušice there is a museum of the artist. There you can see an old friend of the cat Mikesh and a piglet Pashik, who learned to speak and kept a diet all his life to avoid the “sausage” finale.Joseph Lada. The cover of the book “On the Sly Lime of the Fox” by Joseph Lada died on December 14, 1957, three days before his 70th anniversary. Farewell to the artist took place in the Prague House of Artists. One of his friends wrote: “Why these sorrowful condolences? I am sure that Lada was called to the sky to draw a real Nativity scene there ... ”.ChristmasJosef Lada1938The exhibition of the Sevens of Joseph Lada in the Gallery “Dancing House” in Prague is open until April 1, 2018.Arthiv: read us in the Telegram and see on Instagram
Title illustration: Joseph Lada "Winter", 1948