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Tove Jansson 1914–2001


Tove Jansson was born one hundred years ago in Helsinki. Her father, Viktor Jansson, was a sculptor; her mother, Signe Hammarsten-Jansson, an illustrator and draughtswoman. Tove Jansson began her art studies at the age of 16 at the School of Applied Arts in Stockholm, and she later pursued studies in painting at the Drawing School of the Finnish Art Society, operating in the Ateneum building in Helsinki, as well as at art schools in Paris.

Art came first for the multi-talented Tove Jansson. She loved colours but also had one of the greatest talents in drawing of her time. Illustrations, of Moomins in particular, form a central part of her work. She was fiercely independent, both as a person and as an artist.

Tove Jansson
9 August 1914 Helsinki – 27 June 2001 Helsinki
Artist, writer, illustrator

Father: sculptor Viktor Bernhard (Faffan) Jansson (1886–1958). Mother: Swedish-born art teacher and illustrator Signe (Ham) Hammarsten-Jansson (1882–1970).
Brothers: Per Olov (1920–) and Lars Fredrik (1926–2000).

Art Studies
School of Applied Arts (current Konstfack), Stockholm, 1930–33.
Drawing School of the Finnish Art Society, Helsinki 1934–36.
L’École d’Adrien Holy, Paris 1938.

Active participation in joint and group shows from the 1930s onwards.
Solo exhibitions since 1943.
Several public murals, 1941–84.

Children’s books (e.g. Carroll, Tolkien), 1937–66; illustrations for daily papers and magazines, including Garm magazine, Helsinki, 1929–53.
Postcards, advertisements, other commercial art.

Comic artist
Moomin comic strips, 1947–60.

Nine Moomin books, 1945–70.
Three Moomin picture books, 1952–77.
Skurken i Muminhuset (aka An Unwanted Guest, 1980), photographs by Per Olov Jansson.
Novels and short story collections as well as numerous radio plays, stage plays and song lyrics.

Accolades and awards
Pro Finlandia Medal.Honorary professorship 1995. Honorary Doctor of Philosophy, Åbo Akademi, 1978.
Accolades and awards from Finland and abroad.