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Josef Lada (1887–1957) Winter

gouache on cardboard
1944
lower right
37 × 59 cm
framed, mounted

Estimate3,000,000 CZK4,000,000 CZK
Starting price1,700,000 CZK Final price7,800,000 CZK
This work is an exceptional example of Lada’s unmistakable poetic style, presented on the background of a typical Czech village with an emphasis on folk poetic art and rhetoric. It comes from his peak period and also the most prolific year of his work. Lada used painting as a way to escape from the reality of dramatic war time, which gave him the opportunity to create his own harmonious, sometimes humorous world, far from a war-torn Europe. He was self-taught in drawing, but gradually developed a distinctive style with strong black outlines and a simplified perspective caused by his visual impairment, and round morphology of individual elements. The illustrations, paintings, and drawings he created during his lifetime are admired by both children and adults until the present. The presented romantic scene is full of all the characteristic details of his works. A lone boy with a sled stands in silence by a big snowman, a witness to the peaceful romantic village life and children’s world. Now that white snowflakes are falling on the surrounding cottages, the boy is the only one watching this winter magic except for the hen that escaped from the yard. The atmosphere of the painting with a soft colour range is exceptional, evoking winter in its most beautiful form. It is obvious that the painter managed not to look back at artistic conventions and chose his own path. Spirituality and magic of the snowy scenery are portrayed with festive calmness and tenderness. His native village, Hrusice, with the iconic church of St. Wenceslas, became an unlimited source of inspiration for Lada; its panorama was repeatedly captured in his works and it was also a scene of many of his stories. The artwork was exhibited in Pardubice in 2008 (Josef Lada, Dům U Jonáše), in Golčův Jeníkov in 2014 (Zpátky na výsluní – české malířství od 19. století do současnosti, Goltzova tvrz, cat. No. 53) and in the same year also in Cheb (Christmas Footprints of Josef Lada: Winter in his Masterpieces from 1936 to 1955, Gallery of Fine Art in Cheb). It is also published in the artist’s monograph (J. Olič / L. Pavluch: Josef Lada, Prague 2008, cat. No. 636, p. 507). Assessed during consultations by prof. J. Zemina and PhDr. R. Michalová, Ph.D. The expertise by PhDr. P. Pečinková, CSc., is attached.
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