Painter, book illustrator, scenographer and writer Alena Ladová was born December 29th, 1925 in Prague.
JHer father was the National Artist Josef Lada (1887 – 1957), her mother Hana Ladová-Budějická (1888 – 1951). She had a younger sister Eva (1928 – 1945). She married Jan Vrána (1919 – 1994) and their son Josef was born in 1960. She died in Prague in 1992 and she is buried at the Olšany cemetery there.
Just like her father, she showed an early talent for drawing and painting and thus it was not surprising that she studied art and eventually became an accomplished illustrator. After graduation from her high school she studied drawing at the State School of Graphic Art in the class of professor Karel Tondl. Then she worked for one year in the Zlín-Kudlov film studios, where she discovered the challenging beauty of animated films. She finished her studies of art at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague (VŠUP) in 1948. She studied with professor Emil Filla.
People mostly know her illustrations of children books. During her long life full of ardent art work she illustrated more than ninety books for children, one of them being a rather popular book from the 1970-ies, Kluci, holky a Stodůlky (Boys, Girls and Stodulky) by Eva Bernardinová. In 1963 she wrote and illustrated her book Můj táta Josef Lada (My Dad Josef Lada), where she narrated stories from her childhood in the Lada family in a lively, touching way. Her drawings would often appear in newspapers, journals for children, calendars, Easter and Christmas postcards and covers of music sheets.
She worked in the film industry, for various theatres and for Czech TV, where she used her previous experience from the Zlín-Kudlov film studios. We can see her talent and professional guidance in animated films like Kocour Mikeš (Mikeš the Cat) (26 parts), Budulínek Mandelinka and O statečné princezně (The Brave Princess). She did stage design and costume design for some sixteen projects of Czech television. People could see her scenographic work in many theatres in Czechoslovakia. Her first assignment related to theater dates back to 1946, when she did stage and costume design for the play Zlodějská komedie (The Thief Comedy) by Josef Toman (first performed in the May the Fifth theater – today the State Opera Prague). Her last theater-related project happened in 1986, when she worked on a dramatic tale by Josef Lada Bubáci a hastrmani (Spooks and Watersprites), which was performed in the municipal theater in Kladno.
Generally, people are not very familiar with her non-commissioned work. Her emotions, typical kindness and gentleness manifest themselves very clearly here. We should recall here her series of the streets and corners of Prague, which she painted in the 1950-ies, or her series of forty-six characters related to literature, theatre and history, which was her gift for the 36th birthday of her husband to be – Jan Vrána.
There is a permanent exhibition of her pictures and illustrations in Hrusice as part of the collection of the Memorial of Josef Lada and His Daughter Alena.