"If you want to refresh and relax," claimed writer Kornei Chukovsky, "turn to the miniatures of Pokhitonov. One cannot possibly find anything better—how glorious, how poetic, how light and airy the masterful brush of this wonderful artist" (Vladimir Petrov, Ivan Pokhitonov, 2003).
Pokhitonov's contemporaries perceived his talent in much the same way. The great P. M. Tretyakov purchased over twenty of Pokhitonov's works for his collection, and artists Aleksei Bogoliubov, Vasily Polenov and Ilya Repin dubbed him the "wizard," for they all fell under his spell. Repin once wrote to him, "I always admire your beautiful creations; they will forever remain part of our Russian art. I feel these works mirror your pure and kind soul" (ibid., p. 21). Even Western Europeans were impressed; Ernest Meissonier, Jules Bastien-Lepage, Gustave Moreau and Eugène Carrière found inspiration in his miniatures, while Jules Dupré and Henri Harpignies were his friends, imparting him with their Barbizon philosophy and plein-air technique.