100th anniversary of Russian revolution marked with auction

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution.  

Among the highlights of Sotheby’s Russian art sale in London on November 28 is a selection of Soviet porcelain, much of it produced during the USSR’s optimistic early years.  

Russian porcelain figure

The statue was made in the Lomonosov Porcelain Factory circa 1932

The highlight looks set to be a delicately hand-painted statue of a woman and a dog. She’s depicted in fashionable 1920s style clothing and is clearly afraid of her canine companion.

On the base is the Cyrillic word for “coward”.

The lot was made in the Lomonosov Porcelain Factory in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) in 1932.

It’s valued at £40,000-60,000 ($52,432-78,648).

The well-dressed woman has been interpreted as representing a beneficiary of Russia’s New Economic Policy, aka the NEP, (1922-1928), an experiment in state-run capitalism introduced in the aftermath of the Russian civil war (1918-1922).

It worked much like China's economy today.

The NEP ended in 1928 after Stalin took power and pushed hard for rapid industrialisation and collectivisation of farms. Millions died in the famines that resulted.

A large plate bearing the socialist slogan “Workers of the World, Unite” is valued at £20,000-30,000 ($26,216-39,324).

The 1927 design is by Sergei Chekhonin (1878-1936), head of the State Porcelain Factory in Leningrad.

The following year, Chekhonin managed to leave the Soviet Union for western Europe.

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