Josef Lada (1887–1957)

Water Goblin

Technique :qouache on paper


Signature:lower left

Dimensions:22,5 × 32,5 cm

Accessories:frame, glass, matting

starting price:‍60000 EUR

achieved price:‍96000 EUR

86th Auction, lot 141


This representative example from the artist’s sought-after period of the 1940s presents the subject-matter of a water goblin, a popular fairy-tale character to which Lada had often and gladly returned since the late 1930s. In 1939, he even published a book based on his artwork entitled “Bubáci a hastrmani” (Bogeymen and Water Goblins), which attracted both children and adults. He skilfully adapted his illustrations to the adventures of Brčál and Pulec the water goblins and Mulisák the bogeyman. From a technical point of view, Water Goblin carries the artist’s characteristic style, which can be identified in strong black lines, the round morphology of individual elements, and the simplified colour range; it is also a synthesis of all the characteristic details of his works. In the painting, we can not only see the figure of a lonely water goblin, but also a well-known old willow and many times varied castle ruins in the background. The fabulously romantic scene seems to become the artist’s personal escape into a mystical world, far away from reality. Assessed during consultations by prof. J. Zemina and PhDr. R. Michalová, Ph.D. The expertise by PhDr. P. Pečinková, CSc., is attached.