5 June 2013
Hunter in the Forest
Oil on canvas, 55.5 by 46 cm.
Provenance: Collection of the artist’s family.
Thence by descent to the previous owner.
Anonymous sale; Important Russian Pictures, Christie’s London, 28 November 2007, lot 296.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Authenticity certificate from the expert Olivier Bertrand.
The work will be included in the forthcoming Ivan Pokhitonov catalogue raisonné being prepared by Olivier Bertrand.
No less than his masterly French landscapes, it was his shooting scenes – or, more precisely, pictures of hunters stalking game in fields and wet moorland with dog and shotgun – that brought Ivan Pokhitonov fame as the brilliant “Russian Barbizon” painter.
A favourite of Pavel Tretyakov and Ivan Turgenev, and called a “magician” by the foremost Russian painters, Alexei Bogoliubov, Vasily Polenov and Ilya Repin, Pokhitonov had a passion for shooting and fishing all his life. This is why, as lover of the outdoors who understood nature and was acutely in tune with the life of the countryside, his artistic soul found its fullest expression in paintings of sporting subjects.
In Hunter in the Forest, there is a certain resemblance between the model and the artist himself. That aside, it is impossible not to notice the close attention paid to the figure and every bush and blade of grass, and how this is combined with successfully conveying the impression of movement, the hunter’s concentration as he advances, the dampness of the enveloping air, the gentle morning mist. It is remarkable how Pokhitonov renders this still hour of twilight, with the distant shapes of tree-trunks and branches melting in the haze before daybreak, and imparts a special beauty to the whole composition by filling it with the soft translucent colours of a cold autumn morning. It is no surprise that Korney Chukovsky, on seeing Pokhitonov’s sporting scenes, wrote delightedly: “How exquisite and poetic they are, how light and atmospheric is the masterly touch of the famous artist’s brush! [...] Of all contemporary artists only he found the soft, pearly serenity of palette preached by John Ruskin”.
Notes on symbols:
* Indicates 5% Import Duty Charge applies.
Ω Indicates 20% Import Duty Charge applies.
§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
† Indicates Standard VAT scheme applies, and the rate of 20% VAT will be charged on both hammer price and premium.