Pokhitonov’s earliest known oil paintings from the 1870s were painted on canvas and focused primarily on the Kherson landscape around the village of Matrionovka where he grew up. The attention to detail which defines his work is already evident here in the careful brushstrokes of the tall grass and greenery; the beautifully observed bird in the hunter’s aim is even identifiable as a wood grouse.
On arriving in Paris, Pokhitonov painted a few works on canvas including the remarkable Vue de l'avenue Foch
. His discovery of the Barbizon school, and Meissonnier in particular, inspired him however to try using small panels instead. This new support suited his miniaturist techniques so completely that he would abandon canvas almost altogether. The canvas support of the present work, the dimension and early dating – combined with early evidence of his highly characteristic technique - make this an exceptionally unusual and important piece.
We would like to thank Olivier Bertrand, author of the forthcoming catalogue raisonné on Ivan Pokhitonov, for providing this catalogue note.