Josef Lada illustrations at the Dancing House

A large exhibition of Lada's work has items not seen for 60 years

The most extensive exhibition of works by Czech illustrator Josef Lada has opened at the Dancing House and will run to April 1, 2018.

Lada illustrated books such as The Good Soldier Švejk and numerous works for children.

The exhibition, called Sedmičky Josefa Lady, marks the 130th anniversary of the birth and the 60th anniversary of the death of the popular Czech artist.

The show has nearly 400 works on four floors of the Dancing House. Among them are his most famous paintings, children's work, magazine illustrations, and a replica of the artist's workspace including personal belongings.

Some paintings and illustrations were last seen in 1957. The exhibition has interactive exhibits for young visitors.

“We have borrowed nearly 400 works from eight museums, galleries, and private collectors, making it the largest exhibition of Josef Lada's work in the last 10 years in Prague,” gallery director Robert Vůjtek said in a press release.

The artist's grandson, also named Josef Lada, was involved in the preparation. “We have been preparing the exhibition for more than a year, and I believe that we have managed to bring together a truly unique set of works that will show my grandfather from a different perspective than just a famous painter and illustrator. People will look directly into his study, see his costume designs and see pictures that have not been shown publicly for the last 60 years,” the grandson said.

There are paintings from the 1940s on holiday themes and village life, including a famous one of a huge fight in a pub. His winter illustrations have long been a Czech Christmas tradition for cards and decorations.

The show also has electoral cartoons from the 1920s and a set of illustrations for Radecký and Gunner Jabůrek, which were last exhibited in 1957.

Visitors can also see illustrations for magazines and books, including the famous Švejk character. There is a section of children's artwork and interactive exhibits relating to stories that Czech adults will remember from childhood and that the current generation may still know such as the fairytale character Mikeš, a village cat.

As part of the accompanying program of the exhibition, there are concerts and guided tours with the grandson of the painter or curators. For concerts and guided tours, reservations are required online.

The exhibition also has a gift shop with mugs, keychains, books and other items with Lada designs. Some English translations of illustrated books are available as well.

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