Lada Josef

Gruzice, Czech Republic

17.12.1887 - 14.12.1957

Cartoonist, illustrator, graphic artist, painter, writer

Born in the small village of Hrusice in a cobbler’s family, he went to Prague at the age of 14 to become an apprentice binder. Entirely self-taught, he created his own style as a caricaturist for newspapers, and later as an illustrator. He produced landscapes, created frescoes and designed costumes for plays and films. Over the years he created a series of paintings and drawings depicting traditional Czech occupations, and wrote and illustrated the adventures of Mikeš, a little black cat who could talk.

Lada produced nearly 600 cartoons of the Švejk characters, depicting Austria-Hungary officers and civil servants as incompetent, abusive and often drunk. All subsequent editions of Švejk used Lada’s illustrations, except for the 2008/2009 Czech edition illustrated by Petr Urban.


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