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Josef Lada (1887–1957) Otter

gouache on cardboard
1944
lower left
41 × 26 cm
frame, glass, pasparted

Starting price1,800,000 CZK Final price2,280,000 CZK
89th Auction, lot 69 This rare lyrical-poetic example from Lada’s sought-after period of the 1940s presents a view of a picturesque cottage and a church with a cemetery rising above it from the woody hills. The cottage is inhabited; there is light in its windows and thick smoke pours from the chimney. In the foreground, an otter rests on the sluice by the pond and a typical willow tree can also be seen on the bank next to it. This composition, set at the beginning of dusk, is known mainly from Lada’s famous paintings with the water goblin. However, an otter also appears in a few similar versions; therefore in the presented artwork it seems to be waiting for him. It is thus one of the less frequent subject matters, and the absence of staffage enhances the uniqueness of this artwork. This gouache carries the artist’s characteristic style, which can be identified by the strong black outlines, the round morphology of individual elements, and the simplified colour range. It stands out for its modern synthesis of motifs in an elaborated layered rendition combined with the optimistic atmosphere of Lada’s native region, despite being executed during the dramatic war years. 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 of PhDr. P. Pečinková, CSc., is attached.
Results of the 91st auction
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