Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov (1832-1898) was a businessman, patron of art, collector, and philanthropist. His brother S.M.Tretyakov was also a famous patron of art and a philanthropist.
Tretyakov received home education. In first half 1850th he inherited business of his father, developed operations on purchase of flax, his processing and sale of textile products. Together with other Moscow businessmen he acted as the founder of the Moscow merchant bank (he was one of his heads), the Moscow commercial and industrial company, some other large firms. Has made a large condition (4,4 million rubles), consisting in the real estate (5 houses in Moscow), securities, money and bills.
Tretyakov started to collect his art collection in 1854 at the age of 24; his first purchase was '10 cloths' of old Dutch masters. He laid down for itself the aim to create national art gallery. In his collection Tretyakov included the most valuable and remarkable products, first of all the contemporaries, from 1870th - mainly co-partners of mobile art exhibitions (Tovarishestvo peredvizhnih hudozhestvennih vistavok or Peredvizhniki). He bought paintings at exhibitions and direct in masterful artists, sometimes he bought the whole assemblies: in 1874 he got V.Vereschagin's "Turkistan series" (13 pictures, 133 figures and 81 etude), in 1880 - his "Indian series" (78 etudes). In his collection there were over Alexander Ivanov's 80 etudes. In 1885 Tretyakov bought V.D. Polenov's 102 etudes painted by the artist during travel across Turkey, Egypt, Syria and Palestine. He got also got Vasnetsov's collection of the sketches made during work above lists in the Kiev Vladimir Cathedral . Tretyakov had the fullest collection of such artists as: V.Perov, I.Kramskoy,I.Repin, V.Surikov, I.Levitan and V.Serov.
Aspiring to show becoming and development of domestic art school, Tretyakov began to get pictures of masters XVIII - first half XIX centuries and monuments of old Russian paintings. He conceived also creation of "Russian pantheon" - portrait gallery of the well-known compatriots. Especially for it he ordered portraits of figures of domestic culture to leading masters of this genre - N.Ge, I.Kramskoy, N.Nevrev, V.Perov, I.Repin.
In 1870-80 Tretyakov began to collect and illustrations. Since 1890th he formed collection of icons. At his life they were not included in an exposition, and they were in a cabinet of the owner. He also collected sculpture, however this part of his collection was small (9 sculptures to 1893).
Firstly the gallery was located in the P.Tretyakov's house in Lavrushenski pereylok. But as soon as his collection was expended he decided to reconstruct his house for his collection. In 1870-1880 the house was repeatedly reconstructed by the architect Kaminskiy.
Pavel Mikhailovich wanted to make transfer of gallery to city as more as possible silently, without any noise; he didn't want to be in the center of the general attention and object of gratitude. But it was not possible to do it and he was very dissatisfied.
From 1881 his gallery became popular (to 1885 it was visited by 30 thousands persons). In 1892 Tretyakov inherited assembly of the West-European painting from his brother and placed it in two halls of the western school. On the importance of collection Tretyakov's gallery was in one number with the largest museums of Russia of that time, became one of sights of Moscow. In August 1892 Tretyakov transferred his collection and a private residence in gift to Moscow. By then in a collection there were 1287 picturesque and 518 graphic products of Russian school, 75 pictures and 8 figures of the West-European school, 15 sculptures and collections of icons.
On August, 15, 1893 it was the official opening a museum under the name "Pavel and Sergey Tretyakov City Art Gallery" (nowadays The State Tretyakov Gallery). In 1890th it was visited by up to 150 thousands people annually. Tretyakov continued to fill up his collection. For example, in 1894 he transferred gallery of 30 pictures, 12 figures and the marble statue 'The Christian Martyrs' by M.Antokolskiy. He was engaged in studying of the collection, and from 1893 issued its catalogue.
Excepting being engaged in the collection of the artworks, Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov was actively engaged in charity. Charity was so natural for him as well as creation of the national gallery.
Tretyakov was the honorary member of 'The Society of Fans of Applied Arts' and 'The Musical Society' from the date of their foundation, granted the solid sums, supporting all educational undertakings. He took part in set of charitable certificates donations in the help to the families of the soldiers killed during the Crimean and Russo-Turkish War. P.Tretyakov's grants were instituted in commercial schools in Moscow and Alexandrovskoe. He never refused in the monetary help to artists and other applicants, carefully cared of monetary business of painters who without fear entrusted their savings to him. Pavel Mikhailovich repeatedly lent money to the kind counselor and adviser I.Kramskoy, V.Khudyakov, K.Trutovskiy, M.K.Klodt and much helped disinterestedly to others. Brothers - Pavel and Sergey Tretyakovs - founded the Arnoldo-Tretyakov School for deaf-mutes in Moscow. Trusteeship of the school, beginning in 1860th, proceeded during P.Tretyakov's life and after his death.
Tretyakov bought the big stone house with a garden for the pupils of the school. 150 boys and girls lived in this house. Here they were brought up to 16 year old and left receiving profession in this school. Tretyakov selected the best teachers, got acquainted with the methods of studying.
Half of his means Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov bequeathed on the charitable purposes: for help to widows, juvenile children and unmarried daughters of died artists and also on financing of the gallery.
He died in 1898. He is buried on the Danilov Cemetery, but in 1948 his ashes was transferred on the Novodevichye Cemetery.