• Tove 100 centenary year. Photo: Moomin Characters™
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Tove 100 centenary year

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of artist and writer Tove Jansson, in recognition of whom special Tove 100 centenary events have been held throughout 2014.

For example, Ateneum Art Museum hosted a major centenary exhibition presenting Jansson’s impressive career as an artist, illustrator, political caricaturist, author and creator of the Moomin characters and stories.

With her multifaceted life's work, Tove Jansson became one of the key artists in Finnish visual art during the post-war golden age of modernism, although she is most widely known for having created the Moomins. With her Moomin stories, she showed how everyone should live together in harmony and how good could be seen in everything.

Jansson’s immense international success made her one of the best-known Finnish artists in the world.

In the footsteps of Tove in Helsinki

Tove Jansson was born on 9 August 1914 in the Katajanokka district of Helsinki and grew up in an artist family whose open-minded and bohemian home atmosphere encouraged the talented Tove to search for her own artistic expression. At the age of just 15 she illustrated the front cover of the satirical magazine Garm, published novels and sold her paintings.

Her father Viktor Jansson was a sculptor who often used his daughter as a model. For example, Tove Jansson modelled for the bronze sculpture Convolvulus that can found in Kaisaniemi Park in Helsinki, as well as for the mermaid in the sculpture Water Nymphs next to the Espa Stage in Esplanade Park.

Tove studied art in Stockholm and Helsinki, and she also sought inspiration from Paris and Italy.

In the late summer of 1944, Jansson rented an attic studio in the centre of the Helsinki at Ullanlinnankatu 1. The studio became her cherished home where she lived and worked in the autumn and winter. The studio would serve as a source of power and a haven for almost 60 years. Summers were spent on the tiny island of Klovharu in the Gulf of Finland, a 20-minute boat ride from Porvoo, together with her partner, the graphic artist Tuulikki Pietilä. Jansson loved the sea and the archipelago, which can be seen in her multifaceted art.

Back in her turret studio in the heart of Helsinki, Tove Jansson created her most renowned paintings and texts. It was here that Jansson finished her first book featuring Moomintroll. The first Moomin book, The Moomins and the Great Flood, appeared in 1945. It was published in Swedish and illustrated by Tove Jansson herself. The book introduced readers to Moomintroll and the others inhabitants of Moomin Valley. Thus began a series of books that eventually became the most visible and widely known aspect of Tove Jansson’s artistic career.

See also:

12 reasons to visit Helsinki

Helsinki Convention Bureau


Updated 09/06/2015