Ivan Pavlovich Pokhitonov (1851-1924), Duck Hunters on a Lake15 cm by 25 cm; 6 in by 9 3/4 in; FramedEstimate: £60,000-£80,000

We would like to draw the attention of our readers and Russian art collectors that a small work by Ivan Pokhitonov will soon come to auction at 25, Blythe Road in April 2017.  The Spring auction of Pictures from a Private London Club, run by Harry Moore-Gwyn at 25 Blythe Road, will take place on the 5th April and comprise over 140 pictures which include a strong core of good quality Victorian paintings as well as featuring this small masterpiece by Ivan Pavlovich Pokhitonov (1851 – 1924) Duck Hunters on a Lake, 1885. Ivan Pavlovitch Pokhitonov was born in Yelisavetgrad (now Kropyvytskyi) in the Kherson Governorate of the Russian Empire. Educated in Zoology, by 1869 he had dedicated himself wholly to painting afer he turned 25 years old, and later moved to France and then Belgium, although he remained a quasi-nomad, travelling with a carriage of his own design that served him as a studio. He was especially fond of hunting and his hunting and shooting scenes, of which this is a typically fine example, may be considered the paintings that best showcase the almost obsessive love of detail that characterises his work. The vast skies with tiny detailed figures in the foreground recall the countryside in which he spent his first twenty-five years, while the minute perfection seen here in the clothing and equipment of the two hunters, as well as in the foliage surrounding the lake, emphasises the scientific mind of the trained zoologist. Pokhitonov was wholly artistically untrained in the formal sense, but his obsessive personality drove him to perfect not only his representation of his subject, but also the preparation of his medium – usually mahogany or lemon wood panel with thick preparatory layers and, as in this case, thorough cradling. His great friend Emile Witmeur wrote in an article published in La Vie Wallonie on the 15th of March 1924, a year after the artist’s death that Pohkitonov would often say: “I do not wish to give an aesthetic assessment of my work, but what I can guarantee is that it is not going anywhere!” Witmeur went on to say that Pokhitonov drew lessons from the creators of the extraordinarily durable Russian icons. His works were painted with an arsenal of tools beyond the paintbrush, including scalpels, magnifying lenses, and fish bones to lay down miniscule strokes, meaning that while the quintessential Pokhitonov is usually little larger than 20 cm by 20 cm, it is as detailed as many works ten times the size. Pokhitonov was friend of the Russian writer Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev, who was also known for his passion for hunting. In 1894, Ilya Repin visited Paris and attended the annual exhibition at the Salon du Champs de Mars. In his notes he severely criticised the exhibition, while at the same time observing that the reward for “all this torture and wandering through endless exhibition rooms was the opportunity to have a rest in front of the miniature gems of our I.P. Pokhitonov”. He went on describing Pokhitonov views of the Neapolitan Bay then concluding with the words of admiration: “So much brilliance, freshness, such reserve in draftsmanship and  tone, especially in the buildings!” Olivier Bertrand has confirmed the authenticity of this work and its inclusion in his catalogue raisonné, number C7. Mr. Bertrand included this work on the basis of a damaged sepia postcard, and states that while the catalogue lists an exhibition date before the date of the present work, this is erroneous. Literature Olivier Bertrand Ivan Pokhitonov catalogue raisonné, 2015, Vol. 1 no. C7   The catalogue for the auction of Pictures from a Private London Club is now online at www.25BlytheRoad.com For further information about the auction, as well as images, please contact : Felix Kaplan, 25 Blythe Road, London W14 0PD  Tel.:  + 44 207 806 5541 and e-mail: pictures@25blytheroad.com