Special issue. IVAN POKHITONOV. THE ARTIST SORCERER

 
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Eleonora Paston, PhD in Art History

You have in your hands a special issue of the “Tretyakov Gallery” magazine that is dedicated to the life and work of the distinguished Russian artist Ivan Pavlovich Pokhitonov (Pokitonow) (1850-1923). For most of his life he lived in France and Belgium, but he never lost touch with Russia or Russian art as he considered himself a “Russian artist”. The poetic expressiveness of his work, so inherent in Russian “mood landscapes”, seamlessly came together with the refined French painting style, combined with the artist’s highest standard of excellence that he applied to his paintings.

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Eleonora Paston

THE SOLO SHOW OF IVAN PAVLOVICH POKHITONOV, TITLED “THE ARTIST-SORCERER”, DEDICATED TO THE ARTIST’S 160th ANNIVERSARY, IS BEING HELD AT THE TRETYAKOV GALLERY IN THE “YEAR OF FRANCE IN RUSSIA”, AND ITS MIRROR EVENT, “RUSSIA IN FRANCE”. ALTHOUGH UNPLANNED, THIS OVERLAP IS EXTREMELY NATURAL. IT WOULD BE HARD TO FIND ANOTHER ARTIST OF THE SECOND HALF OF THE 19th-EARLY 20th CENTURIES WHOSE OEUVRE REFLECTS RUSSO-FRENCH CONNECTIONS AS NATURALLY AS POKHITONOV.

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Lydia Gladkova, Eleonora Paston

THE EXHIBITION “THE ARTIST-SORCERER", ORGANIZED BY THE TRETYAKOV GALLERY TO MARK THE 160th ANNIVERSARY OF IVAN PAVLOVICH POKHITONOV (1850-1923), FEATURED WORKS FROM THE COLLECTIONS OF THE TRETYAKOV GALLERY AND OTAR MARGANIA (MOSCOW).

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Eleonora Paston

IN 1875, TWO YEARS BEFORE IVAN POKHITONOV'S ARRIVAL IN PARIS, A VENTURE CALLED THE “PARIS CERAMICS WORKSHOP OF RUSSIAN ARTISTS" WAS SET UP; IT WAS ESTABLISHED ON THE INITIATIVE OF ALEXEI BOGOLYUBOV IN A SPACE RENTED FROM AN INDUSTRIALIST CALLED GILLOT, AND IT WOULD CONTINUE TO OPERATE UNTIL THE EARLY 1880s. PARTICIPANTS INCLUDED MANY RUSSIAN ARTISTS LIVING IN PARIS, FOR WHOM THE WORKSHOP WAS ONE OF THEIR SOURCES OF INCOME OUTSIDE RUSSIA (THEIR STIPENDS FROM THE ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS WERE INSUFFICIENT TO COVER ALL NECESSARY LIVING EXPENSES). THE ARTISTS IN ONE SITTING APPLIED IMAGES TO FINISHED PLATES AND DISHES WHICH WERE THEN HEATED IN A KILN AND SOLD. THE VENTURE ATTRACTED THE ARTISTS FOR ITS NEW CREATIVE OPPORTUNITIES.

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Emile Witmeur

WHILE PREPARING THIS SPECIAL ISSUE OF THE “TRETYAKOV GALLERY MAGAZINE" DEDICATED TO IVAN POKHITONOV, WE THOUGHT IT WAS ESSENTIAL TO GIVE SOME SPACE TO THE RECOLLECTIONS OF HIS CONTEMPORARIES.

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Eleonora Paston

THE COLLECTION OF IVAN POKHITONOV'S LETTERS TO PAVEL TRETYAKOV AND ILYA OSTROUKHOV AT THE TRETYAKOV GALLERY'S DEPARTMENT OF MANUSCRIPTS IS THE MOST COHERENT SET OF DOCUMENTS TO BE FOUND IN THE BODY OF ARCHIVAL MATERIALS, INCLUDING LETTERS, BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION, COMMENTS AND REVIEWS, RELATING TO POKHITONOV'S LIFE AND ART. OTHER COLLECTIONS INCLUDE THOSE AT THE CENTRAL ARCHIVE OF LITERATURE AND ART (MOSCOW), THE RUSSIAN MUSEUM'S DEPARTMENT OF MANUSCRIPTS (ST. PETERSBURG), THE ARCHIVE OF THE KOVALENKO REGIONAL ART MUSEUM IN KRASNODAR, AND THE STATE ARCHIVE OF THE KRASNODAR REGION (KRASNODAR). THESE LETTERS REVEAL NEW DETAILS OF THE ARTIST'S BIOGRAPHY AND SHED LIGHT ON MANY ASPECTS OF HIS CREATIVE METHODS.

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Eleonora Paston

IVAN POKHITONOV STAYED AS A GUEST AT LEO TOLSTOY'S YASNAYA POLYANA ESTATE FROM 14 JUNE TO 5 JULY 1905. IN LETTERS TO HIS COMMON-LAW WIFE, YEVGENIA WULFFERT, HE WROTE ABOUT HIS IMPRESSIONS OF THE VISIT, HIS MEETINGS WITH TOLSTOY AND TOLSTOY'S WIFE SOPHIA ANDREIEVNA, AND HIS WORK DURING THE STAY.

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Ilya Zilberstein

"I WILL BE THE FIRST ONE TO REJOICE IN OUR VERY OWN ART," TURGENEV WROTE TO THE ART CRITIC VLADIMIR STASOV, AND THE PHRASE BECAME THE TITLE FOR AN ARTICLE BY ILYA ZILBERSTEIN, A RENOWNED ART EXPERT, MAN OF LETTERS AND COLLECTOR*. HIS ARTICLE INTRODUCED READERS TO LITTLE- KNOWN PAGES FROM TURGENEV'S BIOGRAPHY, WHICH WERE ASSOCIATED WITH THE WRITER'S ROLE IN THE LIFE OF MANY RUSSIAN ARTISTS, INCLUDING IVAN POKHITONOV

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Eleonora Paston

IN IVAN POKHITONOV'S PUBLISHED LETTERS, HE OFTEN MENTIONS “FAMILY TROUBLES" THAT PREVENTED HIM FROM CARRYING OUT SOME PROJECTS, AND LED TO A LINGERING SEPARATION FROM HIS HOMELAND. THE FIRST PUBLICATION OF THE LETTERS OF POKHITONOV'S FIRST WIFE MATILDA K. POKHITONOVA CLARIFIES TO SOME EXTENT THIS PREDICAMENT OF HIS LIFE.

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Igor Markevitch

IGOR MARKEVITCH, A GRANDSON OF IVAN POKHITONOV WAS AN OUTSTANDING CONDUCTOR AND COMPOSER. HE WAS BORN IN 1912 IN KIEV, THE SON OF BORIS MARKEVITCH, A PIANIST, AND HIS WIFE ZOYA POKHITONOVA, THE ARTIST'S DAUGHTER. HIS PATERNAL GREAT-GRANDFATHER WAS THE RENOWNED UKRAINIAN HISTORIAN AND ETHNOGRAPHER NIKOLAI MARKEVITCH (1804-1860), THE AUTHOR OF THE FIVE- VOLUME “HISTORY OF MALAYA [SMALL] RUSSIA". NIKOLAI MARKEVITCH MAINTAINED CLOSE FRIENDSHIPS WITH MANY DISTINGUISHED CULTURAL FIGURES OF HIS TIME, INCLUDING ALEXANDER PUSHKIN AND TARAS SHEVCHENKO. HE WAS ALSO AN AMATEUR MUSICIAN AND A FRIEND OF MIKHAIL GLINKA. IGOR'S GRANDFATHER, ANDREI MARKEVITCH (1830-1907) WAS A WELL-KNOWN LAWYER, CHAIRMAN OF THE ST.PETERSBURG COURT OF JUSTICE AND PHILANTHROPIST. A BRILLIANT CELLIST, HE PARTICIPATED IN MANY CHARITY RECITALS.

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Nikolai Brechko-Brechkovsky

IVAN POKHITONOV'S LIFE AND ARTISTIC ACTIVITY ALONGSIDE THE EXTENSIVE DATA ON THE LIFE OF HIS DESCENDANTS REVEAL DEEP SPIRITUAL AND STRONG FAMILY TIES. HAVING EXPERIENCED MANY MISFORTUNES, HE WAS HAPPY TO HAVE MET MANY OUTSTANDING PEOPLE OF HIS TIME. THE LIVES OF HIS DESCENDANTS BECAME INTRICATELY INTERTWINED WITH THE LIVES OF THE DESCENDANTS OF THEIR GRAND- AND GREATGRANDFATHER.

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