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Ivan Pokhitonov (1850-1923)
Ivan Pokhitonov (1850-1923)

Clairière sous la neige, Minsk, 1911

Ivan Pokhitonov (1850-1923)
Clairière sous la neige, Minsk, 1911
signed 'I. Pokhitonow' (lower right); with inscription, date and number by the artist's son Boris Wulfert Pokhitonov 'Préparation pour/clairière sous la neige/Minsk 1911/No. 478' (on the reverse)
oil on panel
9 x 14 in. (22.8 x 35.4 cm.)
Boris Wulfert-Pokhitonov, son of the artist.
His sale, Tableaux, études, Dessins du peintre Ivan Pokitonow, Salle des Chiroux, Liége, 17 November 1925, no. 45.
Acquired at the above sale by Zoya Pokhitonov (1888-1972).
By direct descent in the artist's family to the present owner.

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Lot Essay

Snow attracts particular attention, and with good reason: for Pokitonow, snow had its own secret language. Saint Francis of Assisi preached to birds, Pokitonow talked to snow. Russian winters gave him a beneficial vision of snow, which, far from being a shroud, appeared to be a warm coat protecting life, an ornament of celebration that transformed commonplace objects giving them a charm of innocence and freshness. Pokitonow always greeted snow with joy as if it were an old and faithful friend. He contemplated and painted it with tenderness as it lay, full of hesitation, on twisted trunks and the rugged branches of bare trees, or covering the ermine fringes of shrubs and hedges alongside the roads, while it looked deformed and torn in the ruts of the roads, or when it, as a sky messenger, made the dark roofs of ugly agglomerations look beautiful. Thus a banal, sad image of winter became moving because of Pokitonow's force of sympathy that revived the soul of things.

Prof. Emile Witmeur; friend and confidant of Ivan Pokitonov for over 30 years (1894-1923). Extract from 'A Russian painter, poet of Wallonie', The Life of Wallonie, 7, 15 March 1924, pp. 269-287.

No other painter has achieved such a command of execution of the mysterious and luminous atmosphere of Russian winters. The transparency and glare effects of snow, frost, ice and black ice illuminate the composition and provide a breath of life to hollow and glacial winter.

Olivier Bertrand; extract from Ivan Pokitonow, life, works, catalogue raisonné, 2010. This work will be included as no. ON 478 in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné by Olivier Bertrand which will be published in 2010.

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