Nick Hackworth

Dabblings of a Great Writer

Writing Evening Standard

The famous Swede August Strindberg, who died in 1912, was, as the Tate's title informs us, wielding alphabetical order to mendacious effect: a painter, photographer and writer.

Unfortunately for this exhibition, Strindberg was, in true order of interest, a great writer, a cranky amateur chemistcumalchemist, a dabbler in photography, a serial divorcee and, trailing in last place, a lousy painter - a fact that hasn't stopped the Tate devoting 10 rooms to the first major British exhibition of Strindberg's paintings.

The empathy and incisiveness that have made plays such as Miss Julie and Dreamplay enduring successes and ensured his legacy as one of the founders of modern theatre sadly failed to spill over from the page on to the canvas.