More Information: Onrushing wave under stormy sky, light with weak yellow-green streak on the horizon. (Originally a birch tree by the sea, the trunk and leaves are visible painted over on the left.) The expressive and threatening onrushing wave is a fateful motif with strong symbolic connotations of death and destruction that Strindberg returned to several times. A reflection of the tensions within him.
August Strindberg is one of Sweden’s best-known authors, both nationally and internationally. In addition to works such as The Red Room, Natives of Hemsö, Master Olof, The Father and Miss Julie, From an Occult Diary occupies a special place in his works. Strindberg was born in Stockholm in 1849 and died in 1912. He lived in a time when the foundations were being laid for the Sweden of today, and he played an active part in the debate. Strindberg was both hated and loved.
Strindberg’s interests spanned a very broad range of areas. In his early days he experimented with photography. Painting was another important part of his artistry. His paintings were not intended as an illustration to his literary production, but as a distinct form of artistic expression. He began painting in 1872. His subjects were nature – forests, trees, rocks, sea and sky – often in an agitated state. According to his own words in his novel The Son of a Servant (1886-1887), the motifs were of his own inner landscape: “You should paint your own inner self and not go and draw logs and rocks, which naturally would be meaningless in themselves, and could only gain any meaning by passing through the mind and senses of the subject's furnace. Therefore, they should not be studied, but be painted at home from memory and the imagination. Johan always painted the sea, with the shore in the foreground; sullen pines, a few bare rocks further out, a white painted beacon, a marker, a dot. The air was mostly cloudy, with a faint or strong light on the horizon; sunsets or moonlight, never clear daylight.”
For several periods in his life Strindberg preferred to view himself as primarily a painter and to be able to live off his painting. Posterity has regarded him as both an amateur and as a pioneer of modern painting. Nordiska museet owns the largest collection of Strindberg's paintings, 19 pieces, and a number of drawings.