Josef Lada (1887–1957)

Christmas Eve

Technique :gouache on paper


Signature:vlevo dole

Dimensions:25 x 39 cm

Accessories:frame, glass, matting

starting price:‍60000 EUR

achieved price:‍148000 EUR

86th Auction, lot 82


This up to now unknown, nostalgically grasped variation of Lada’s favourite subject-matter was inspired by memories of his childhood in his native village. This hitherto unpublished painting logically fits into the context of the artist’s contemporary work in the dramatic 1940s, in which, however, his characteristic artistic expression has already been established. The poetic scene depicts a typical Czech village, which at first glance is completely untouched by the horrors of war, and introduces us to the artist’s idyllic world. We find ourselves in a winter village square with snow-covered cottages and a church in the background. The figure of the bellman with his dog is facing the village, turned with his back to the beholder, as is the statue of the patron St. John of Nepomuk. The whole scene has a spiritual dimension and the beholder seems to witness stories and miracles that can only take place during the long Christmas Eve. In “The Chronicle of My Life”, Lada talks about how he enjoyed accompanying the bellman on patrol and how fascinated he was during these night wanderings. He paid special attention to the bellman when he wound a horn during Christmas Eve, which embodied the true poetry of Christmas to him. The artwork was published and reproduced in the book Zlatý řez, KODL Gallery 2015–2019 (Prague 2020, pp. 310–311). Assessed during consultations by prof. J. Zemina and PhDr. R. Michalová, Ph.D. The expertise by PhDr. P. Pečinková, CSc., is attached.