Tag Archives: Josef Lada

Lada, Hašek and Kontušovka

Josef Lada, “Sváteční hospoda“, 1932

Christmas has come early! An exhibition of the works of Josef Lada (15 November-3 February, Municipal House, Prague) With “a visual perspective ..praised by Picasso” this great Czech artist is a real treat. Josef is probably best known as the illustrator of Hašek’s The Good Soldier Švejk. Czech absinth drinkers might be interested in this note:

Charmed by Lipnice, then a community of 800 people, perched idyllically up on a hill with its 14th century castle slumped and crumbling above the gently winding Sázava River, Hašek entered merrily into village life. He enjoyed nothing more than treks through the surrounding farmland, woods and villages, or annoying the local women by dragging their menfolk to the pub, where he would stand to read completed sections of text to his audience, dictating new sections to a more sober writer. Sometimes he would simply play cards, albeit for sums of money way beyond his means. He drank copiously at the bar, chasing the locally produced beer, Lipnicée Lezák, with rum, slivovice and kontušovka; an aniseed based liquor, similar to absinthe. At the end of the evening, the wild writer had only a couple of flights of stairs to negotiate before bed.