August Strindberg, painter, photographer, writer
About | Visiting information | Book tickets | Events & Education | Catalogue
Strindberg's Father, Carl Oscar Strindberg

Strindberg's Father, Carl Oscar Strindberg.

August Strindberg aged 13

August Strindberg aged 13

August Strindberg aged 19

August Strindberg aged 19

The Island of Kymmendö

The island of Kymmendö

Strindberg's writing hut in Kymmendö

Strindberg's writing hut in Kymmendö

The bar in Paris where Strindberg met Paul Gaugin and other artists

The bar in Paris where Strindberg met Paul Gauguin and other artists

Strindberg's first wife, Siri von Essen

Strindberg's first wife, Siri von Essen

Strindberg's daughter, Karin

Strindberg's daughter, Karin

Strindberg's daughter, Greta

Strindberg's daughter, Greta

Strindberg's son, Hans

Strindberg's son, Hans

Strindberg aged 37

Strindberg aged 37

Production of 'The Father' at the Intimate Theatre

Production of The Father at the Intimate Theatre

Strindberg in the Archipelago

Strindberg in the Archipelago

Strindberg's favourite table at The Black Pig, with one of his paintings hanging above it

Strindberg's favourite table at The Black Pig, with one of his paintings hanging above it

Strindberg's second wife, Frida Uhl

Strindberg's second wife, Frida Uhl

Strindberg's daughter, Kerstin

Strindberg's daughter, Kerstin

Strindberg aged 48

Strindberg aged 48

Production of the 'Dance of Death' at the Inmate Theatre

Production of The Dance of Death at the Intimate Theatre

Strindberg's third wife Harriet Bosse in costume for 'Dream Play'

Strindberg's third wife Harriet Bosse in costume for A Dream Play

Strindberg in front of his photograph of daughter Anna-Marie

Strindberg in front of his photograph of daughter Anne-Marie

Strindberg, aged 57, in front of the painting 'Inferno'

Strindberg, aged 57, in front of the painting Inferno

Interior of the Intimate Theatre

Interior of the Intimate Theatre

The Blue Tower

The Blue Tower

Strindberg in his Library at the The Blue Tower

Strindberg in his library at the Blue Tower

Strindberg, April 1912

Strindberg, April 1912


A Chronology

1860's | 1870's | 1880's | 1890's | 1900's

All timeline images copyright Strindbergsmuseet Stockholm, unless otherwise stated.


Johan August Strindberg is born on 22 January in Stockholm, the third son of shipping agent Carl Oscar Strindberg and Ulrika Eleonora Norling, his former housekeeper. As a boy Strindberg is shy and withdrawn, but shows a passionate interest in natural science and religion.


Strindberg’s mother dies of tuberculosis. Within a year, his father marries the housekeeper, Emilia Pettersson.


First visit to the Stockholm Archipelago, when he takes a holiday job as a private tutor to an aristocratic family. He retains a love of the Archipelago throughout his life.


Studies aesthetics and modern languages at Uppsala University. He soon gives up and returns to Stockholm.


Teacher in an elementary school. He works as a private tutor in two separate doctors’ residences, and begins to study medicine.


Joins the Royal Theatre in Stockholm as a trainee actor, and takes several small parts. Writes his first play, A Name Day Gift, now lost. Meets the painter Per Ekström.

Back to top


Returns to his studies at Uppsala and dedicates himself to writing. His one-act comedy In Rome is performed at the Royal Theatre, Stockholm.


First visit to the island of Kymmendö in the Archipelago, which will become the setting of many early paintings. The Outlaw is produced at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm. The play is admired by King Karl XV, who awards Strindberg a royal grant.


Begins to paint. His first work, now lost, is based on a reproduction found in a newspaper: The Ruin of Tulborn Castle. He spends his summer in Kymmendö, drawing from nature and writing the first version of his play Master Olof.


Strindberg becomes editor of Swedish Insurance News, which closes in July after 11 issues. Spends the summer in Kymmendö and the autumn in Sandhamn where he paints a first series of seascapes.


Writes theatre and art reviews for the newspaper Dagens Nyheter. In the autumn, he begins work as an assistant librarian at the Royal Library in Stockholm. He remains in the post for 8 years.


Travels to Paris where he visits the second Impressionist exhibition, at the Durand-Ruel gallery. The exhibition gathers work by 20 artists, including Monet, Renoir and Degas. Strindberg writes about the exhibition for the Dagens Nyheter.


Marries the actress Siri von Essen. Publishes a collection of short stories set in Uppsala, From Fjärdingen to Svartbäcken.


Declared bankrupt. He publishes a novel The Red Room, whose scathing portrait of artistic and bohemian life in Stockholm makes him a leading figure for the radical Swedish intellectuals.

Back to top


The Secret of the Guild is performed at the Royal Theatre in Stockholm. Daughter Karin is born.


On Kymmendö, works on The Swedish People, a vast history depicting the lives of ordinary Swedes. The painter Carl Larsson works closely with Strindberg on illustrations for the book. A second daughter, Greta, is born.


Publishes The New Kingdom, a collection of stories attacking the Swedish establishment. After 18 months’ unpaid leave, resigns from the Royal Library.


Strindberg and his family leave Sweden. They spend a few weeks at an artists’ colony at Grez, near Fontainebleau, before moving to Paris. Poems in Verse and Prose published


Travels in Switzerland. Son Hans is born. Getting Married, a collection of stories on the theme of marriage, leads to prosecution for blasphemy. Strindberg returns to Stockholm to face his trial. He conducts his own defence and is acquitted.


Lives in Switzerland, Paris and Grez. Relations with Siri become strained. Writes second volume of Getting Married, which shows his increasing hostility towards women and marriage.


Writes the first three volumes in a series of autobiographical novels: The Son of a Servant, Time of Ferment and In the Red Room. Travels through France researching and taking photographs for a book on peasant life, later abandoned. Begins a series of photographic self-portraits in Gerzau, Switzerland.


Writes The Father and The People of Hemsö, a naturalistic novel set in the Archipelago. A Madman’s Defense, an account of his marital problems, is written in French.


Writes the naturalistic plays Miss Julie and Creditors. Founds the Scandinavian Experimental Theatre in Copenhagen, with his wife Siri as the manager. Correspondence with Nietzsche.


Writes short plays The Stronger and Pariah. Miss Julie is banned by the censor but performed privately in Copenhagen University Students Union with Siri in the lead role. In the Skerries, a novel influenced by Nietzsche, is published. Return to Sweden.

Back to top


Writes the novel By the Open Sea.


Divorces Siri. Strindberg spends the autumn at Dalarö in the Archipelago, where he starts modelling clay. Only two sculptures survive: The Weeping Boy and Hanna Palme von Born.


Begins his most prolific period as a painter (1892-1894), creating some thirty works in Dalarö. Holds his first exhibition at a gallery in Stockholm. Travels to Berlin in the autumn, where he joins the artistic circle in the tavern The Black Pig and meets Edvard Munch. Devotes his time to science, painting and photography.


In April Strindberg leaves Berlin with Frida Uhl, a young journalist, and they marry in Heligoland. They spend their honeymoon in London, where Strindberg probably sees paintings by Turner. In the autumn, they move in Dornach, Austria, where Strindberg dabbles in alchemy and makes his first celestographs, attempting to capture the light of the stars directly onto photographic paper.


Paints intensively in Dornach, covering the walls in preparation for the birth of his daughter Kerstin in May. Strindberg moves alone to Paris, where Creditors and The Father are performed in the avant-garde Théâtre de l’oeuvre. Continues to paint and publishes The Role of Chance in Artistic Production in the French magazine Revue des Revues. He increases his scientific experiments, corresponding with alchemists, occultists and theosophists, and attempts to make gold. Beginning of the three-year ‘Inferno crisis’, marked by paranoia and hallucinations.


Sends hysterical letters to Frida, accusing her of sordid conduct. She begins divorce proceedings. Paul Gauguin asks him to write the foreword for an auction of his paintings.


Begins to keep Occult Diary, noting dreams, coincidences and supernatural happenings. Moves to the south of Sweden, and spends several months in Austria with Frida’s family, who are looking after Kerstin. Studies the spiritualist writings of Emmanuel Swedenborg.


Stays in Lund, Sweden, where he writes Inferno, an account of his crisis. Returns to Paris where he writes Inferno II or Legends.


Writes the symbolic drama To Damascus, his first play in six years. Returns to Lund and writes a sequel to To Damascus.


Settles permanently in Stockholm. Writes a naturalistic play There are Crimes and Crimes and a series of dramas inspired by Swedish history.

Back to top


Writes the dramas The Dance of Death and Easter.


Marries the actress Harriet Bosse. The first months of the marriage are marked by quarrels, separation and reconciliation. Writes A Dream Play and the third part of To Damascus.


Birth of his daughter Anne-Marie. Resumes painting. This final period of painting will run until 1905.


Separation from Harriet. Writes Alone, which describes his life since returning to Stockholm, and a series of historical dramas.


Divorces Harriet, although the couple continue an intermittent relationship. Writes the novels The Gothic Rooms, which follows the characters of The Red Room 25 years on, and Black Banners, which causes outrage for its libellous portrait of Strindberg’s former friend Gustaf af Geijerstam.


Writes his last two novels, The Roofing Ceremony and The Scapegoat. Resumes photographic experiments. Builds a camera and takes life-size portraits, aiming to capture the ‘soul’ of the model. Collaboration with the Swedish photographer Herman Andersson. Begins A Blue Book, a compendium of essays and spiritual reflections.


Photographic studies of clouds with Hermann Andersson. Founds the Intimate Theatre with August Falck. Writes the series of Chamber Plays, including The Ghost Sonata and The Pelican.


Moves to an apartment in a building that Strindberg calls the Blue Tower, after a famous prison. It now houses the Strindberg Museum.


Writes his last play, The Great Highway.


Strindberg’s writings on politics and religion provoke a furious debate in the Swedish press known as the ‘Strindberg feud’, in which leading writers take sides for or against Strindberg.


Exhibition of paintings in Stockholm. The publisher Karl Otto Bonnier purchases the copyright to his collected works, and a public subscription raises a fund to support him, known as the ‘anti-Nobel’ prize. Strindberg is finally financially independent.


August Strindberg dies of stomach cancer on 14 May 1912.

Back to top