A Soviet porcelain group "On Guard: Boy Directing Border Guards to Spies"

Lomonosov State Porcelain Manufactory, Leningrad, 1937

After the model by Natalia Yakovlevna Danko or Konstantin Stanislavovich Ryzhov, stamped with dark green factory and blue jubilee marks, numbered 34 in black overglaze.

H: 8 3/4 in.


Ode to Joy Collection, Connecticut.
Estimate $3,000-6,000

Oda k Radosti/Ode to Joy, pp. 198-199, illus. 133, cat. no. 117

This figure from 1937 no doubt draws on the well-known story of Pavel Trofimovich Morozov (Russian, 1918–1932), better known by his diminutive "Pavlik." Morozov was a model for Soviet youth and lauded by the Soviet press as a martyr. Apparently learining of counter-revolutionary activity by his parents, Morozov dutifully reported them to the authorities. In turn, he was murdered by his parents. The tale of Pavlik Morozov affected generations of children, encouraged by the Soviet authorities to inform on their parents. The offered lot shows a child turning in spies to the authorities -- a child who would have been well-versed in the tale of Pavlik Morozov.

For similar versions of the model, see: Christies London, 27 April, 1990, lot 337; Sotheby's London Olympia, 30 November 2000, lot 230; and Bonham's London, 27 November 2006, lot 323.

Sold for $20,000 (buyer's premium included)