When I was at uni did a module on plays by Ibsen and August Strindberg and although I liked and understood Ibsen’s work, I did find myself more drawn to Strindberg, especially, the play, Miss Julie.
This morning, while sleepless and scrolling I came across this painting by Strindberg called Packis i stranden, which translates as ‘Ice Boulders on the Shore’, and I did a little research, as is my wont!
What I didn’t know was that Strindberg was quite the polymath, with expertise in science and…art! And, the type of art he created is the epitome of all that I love in a painting: dark, stormy landscapes, isolated scenes of loneliness, places that create a solace of melancholy.
In terms of this particular painting, what I found was that this sold at auction in 2017 for SEK93,000,000, about £808,500!!!!
This site has all the detail but two things stood out. This review of his paintings:
Whether ‘Snötjocka på hafvet’ (‘Blizzard’) is supposed to depict a dirty sheet hanging out to dry, or is an attempt to find a new way of painting barn doors, is impossible to say, just as one wonders whether ‘Packis’ (‘Ice Boulders’) is supposed to be a plate of bread and margarine or a dish of grilled veal trotters in brain sauce”.
A little harsh, methinks!
This is Blizzard:
And yes I can see what he means by a “dirty sheet”.
But it’s this, by Strindberg, defending his reasons for painting, that is a simple but beautiful plea.
“I shall not deny this blossoming of my youth’s first love: science which seemed to me like an autumnal flower which had to bloom before the winter as well as the older flame; painting had to be reignited before I died. […] Why is there not so much sense in this world that humans will allow artists to work according to their own senses and not theirs”.
Once the national gallery in Stockholm reopens fully, a trip may be in order as I must get me some more of this Strindberg chap!