In his periods of extreme tension in his dramatic creation Strindberg suddenly stopped writing and found refuge in a painting spread by violent knife blows, unleashing the automatism of his impulses.
1894 is a terrible year. His second wife is pregnant and they wait together in an Alpine hut. The couple's relationship is increasingly difficult. Strindberg paints landscapes in which topographical details are absent and where the thickness of the paint erases the border between the mountain and the stormy sky.
Alplandskap, oil on panel 72 x 51 cm painted in 1894, was sold for £ 2.1 million including premium by Sotheby's on 27 June 2007. Made during the same stay, Wonderland shows the exit of the underworld, blinding and not reachable by a potential traveler stuck within the shadows. The inspiration and execution of Wonderland make Strindberg a forerunner of abstract expressionism. His writings confirm that he was aware that his picturial approach was entirely new.
Prepared in 1897 in the depths of one of his paranoid crises, an autobiographical novel titled Inferno describes his hallucinations and delusions as well as his paltry remedies including alchemy and occultism.
A new major marital crisis occurs in 1901 when Strindberg then 52 years old is informed of the murder of his former lover Dagny Juel and cancels his honeymoon with his third wife Harriet Bosse aged 23.
On November 16 in New York, Christie's sells an oil on canvas 100 x 70 cm also titled Inferno which is a direct following to Wonderland and reflects a new descent into hell. It is dated 1903 but the catalog considers that it was painted in 1901. It is estimated $ 3M, lot 33 B.