Josef Lada (born 17 December 1887 in Hrusice, Bohemia – 14 December 1957 in Prague, buried at Olšany Cemetery) was a Czech painter and writer. He is best known as the illustrator of Jaroslav Hašek's World War One novel The Good Soldier Švejk, having won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1963.
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.
One of the cartoons from The Good Soldier Švejk
- Schmadel, Lutz (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, volume 1. Springer. p. 847. ISBN 9783540002383. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
- Hašek, Jaroslav; Lada, Josef, 1887–1957; Parrott, Cecil Sir, 1909–1984 (1973), The good soldier Svejk and his fortunes in the World War, Heinemann : in association with Penguin, ISBN 978-0-434-31375-4
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- Official Page (in Czech, from 9/2014 in English)
- Satirist, illustrator and landscape painter Josef Lada subject of major retrospective – Czech Radio