Tove Jansson (1914-2001) is known to everyone as the author of the Moomin books. She was also a respected artist, however: a skilled and prolific painter, an intelligent cartoonist and caricaturist, and an insightful illustrator. Painting and drawing were in fact her preferred means of expression.
The Helsinki City Art Museum will put on a display of the versatile Tove Jansson’s art at its Meilahti galleries, based on the Tove Jansson memorial exhibition seen at the Tampere Art Museum in summer 2002. Certain works have been omitted from the Meilahti exhibition and others added from private collections and those of the City of Helsinki. The exhibition also includes sketches for cartoons and illustrations, some of which have not been seen in public previously, and the J.R.R. Tolkien illustrations donated to the Tampere Art Museum, which provide a broader picture of Tove Jansson as an illustrator.
The exhibition also presents Tove Jansson as an important painter of monumental murals. It includes Jansson’s large murals from the Strömberg plant in Helsinki, a rare work not seen since the 1960s. Her talent as a narrator and illustrator coalesce strikingly in her monumental, fantastical paintings of festivities and idyllic, imaginary landscapes. Jansson’s public works, most of which she made during the decade following the Second World War, were intended to bring joy and comfort during those austere years. Their cheerfulness is unparalleled in Finnish art.
The motifs of Tove Jansson’s canvases are closer to everyday life, although that did not stop her from depicting beauty. The exhibition includes portraits of herself and other women, views from Helsinki and abroad and from the Finnish archipelago, as well as works from her abstract period, all of which demonstrate her characteristically sensuous use of colour. Jansson was also a versatile illustrator, and the exhibition displays her political caricatures for the Swedish-language Garm magazine, unpublished illustrations, and original illustrations for translated editions of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and of course the Moomin as both cartoon sketches and original illustrations.
The exhibition will be shown in a slightly different form at the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum in Turku from March 28 to June 1, 2003.
Further information: Curator Taru Tappola, tel +358-9-310 87021, +358-50 341 6524 / Educational Assistant Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger, tel +358-9-310 87019, +358-50 570 6369
Press material: Press Secretary Karri Buchert +358-9-310 87004, +358-9-50 304 6707.
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