34
34

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Ivan Pavlovich Pokhitonov
EVENING, UKRAINE
Estimate
160,000200,000
LOT SOLD. 284,750 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
34

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Ivan Pavlovich Pokhitonov
EVENING, UKRAINE
Estimate
160,000200,000
LOT SOLD. 284,750 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Russian Pictures including the Bar-Gera Collection of Soviet Non-Conformist Art

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London

Ivan Pavlovich Pokhitonov
1850-1923
EVENING, UKRAINE
signed in Latin l.r.; further inscribed with the artist's address in pencil on the reverse
oil on panel
16 by 34.5cm, 6 1/2 by 13 1/2 in.
Executed circa 1880
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Provenance

Ivan Turgenev, Paris
A gift from the above to his god-daughter, Vera Pokhitonov
Vera Pokhitonov-Bienaimé, France
Private collection
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Exhibited

Paris, Hôtel de Gunzburg, Société de Secours Mutuels et de Bienfaisance des Artistes Russes à Paris, 1881 or 1882
Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Exposition Internationale de Peinture organisée par un groupe d'artistes, 1882, no.73

Catalogue Note

The first owner of this early landscape, Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883), was an immensely important figure in Pokhitonov’s life and became godfather to the artist’s eldest daughter Vera, to whom he in turn gave the present work. The writer was a founder of the welfare society set up to aid Russian artists living abroad and was among the earliest proponents of Pokhitonov’s work, praising ‘the small but remarkable paintings’ of his compatriot in a letter to Emile Durand (see O.Bertrand, Ivan Pokhitonov Volume I, p.62). The overlap in subject and sentiment in the art of Turgenev and Pokhitonov is such that one can only imagine how quickly their shared sympathies and nostalgia must have become apparent to each other when they met in Paris, two great champions of the unspoiled bucolic idyll of their homeland.

The present lot was included in the major International Exhibition of Paintings which opened in May 1882 at the Galerie Georges Petit. Pokhitonov sent seven works, four of which were already sold before the opening. Two of his paintings are recorded as belonging to the Russian dealer Popoff; the present work listed as Le Soir, was loaned by Turgenev. Pokhitonov’s portrait of Turgenev, which the sitter described as ‘more alive than nature’ is now in the collection of the State Tretyakov Gallery.

Provenance aside, the superb depiction of stormy light in the offered lot is outstanding and as so often it is the line of the horizon where he concentrates his efforts, in this instance dazzling the viewer with the effect of sunlight on the white village walls. As a contemporary reviewer noted in respect to a Pokhitonov landscape shown in the same year in New York, it ‘has a most charming and finely drawn middle distance’ (The Art Exchange, New York, 13 April 1882). If one could attribute the allure of this ‘sorcerer-painter’ to a single hallmark, for many it would be his command of this middle distance, which here is further dramatised by the impression of rain sweeping across the landscape, almost indiscernible until one compares the grey skies on the right hand side to the deep blue on the left.

Nor is detail sacrificed for atmosphere. From the beautifully painted cart and horse, to the windmills under cloud and the flock of birds taking flight from the fields, each element is balanced and above all, unmistakably Russian, calling to mind a number of compositions by his Peredvizhniki contemporaries whom he first discovered and greatly admired at their 5th exhibition in 1877, shortly before his departure for Paris.

The present lot will be included in the second volume of the catalogue raisonné currently being prepared by Olivier Bertrand and due to be published in 2017.

Russian Pictures including the Bar-Gera Collection of Soviet Non-Conformist Art

|
London