The great temporary exhibitions

02.03.10 > 19.09.10

Moomin

Tove Jansson’s Dreamworld

Popularised around the world through comic strips, the Moomin series is above all a rich and sensitive body of comic strip work, created by Tove Jansson (1914-2001), an essential Finnish illustrator and author.

tt Initially published as novels, the Moomin stories appeared as comic strips in “Ny Tid” (1947-48) and in the” London Evening News” (1954-1959). The exhibition produced by the Belgian Comic Strip Center allows visitors to discover the world of a major twentieth-century lady author, with a rich and extravagant personality, served by a refined drawing style which continues to charm her readers in more than forty countries.

In collaboration with the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux and the Finnish Embassy in Belgium.

With Support from the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, the Moominvalley of the Tampere Art Museum,the Finnish Literature Exchange, the National Lottery and the Capital Region of Brussels.

Introduction to the exhibition

On this voyage of discovery, visitors can begin by enjoying the famous forms of Moomin stories in their popular animated cartoons and puppet films and the original illustrated novels and picture books, before exploring their less familiar further adventures in comic strips. Tove Jansson (1914-2001) began creating these unique Moomin newspaper strips in 1947-48 for the Finnish paper Ny Tid, and then from 1954 to 1959 in the London Evening News. Widely syndicated at the time, these later comics have only recently been reprinted and rediscovered as classics equal to any of her other Moomin masterpieces. Around fifty rare original drawings are being loaned by the Tove Jansson Archives in Moominvalley, Tampere, Finland. These chart Jansson’s whole artistic career, from her early covers and cartoons in the 1930s for the satirical magazine Garm, in which prototypes of her Moomintrolls often lurk, to her illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit and other famous books. Tragically, the London syndicate destroyed the artworks from all but one episode of her 1950s comics, but Jansson kept many of her detailed pencil sketches which will be shown alongside proofs of the finished strips. The exhibition will also give an insight into the family background of this visionary author and and her personal life with her partner Tuulikki Pietilä through photographs, paintings and film footage.

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Tove Jansson and Moomin

It was 65 years ago this year, when Tove Jansson, aged 31, an established Finnish cartoonist and artist, had her first illustrated book published, The Little Troll and The Great Flood, and introduced the endearing world of Moomin. Originally writing in Swedish, Jansson had first started her tale in 1939. For her main character she used the charming figure of Moomin, not unlike a white furry hippopotamus, which had been her mascot and signature in her cartoons and covers for Garm magazine. Over the course of 13 books translated into more than 30 languages, her charming creatures would be joined by a cast of eccentric, fascinating characters like The Snork Maiden, Sniff, Snufkin and Fillyjonk. Jansson’s genius is also evident in her Moomin comic strips in the 1950s which reached even more readers in 40 countries and 26 different languages. With a sculptor for a father and an artist for a mother, she grew up in a bohemian household. She spent summers on the family’s small island in the Gulf of Finland, which she drew as settings for her Moomin tales. Jansson became an acclaimed painter, illustrator and novelist, but she is particularly loved for her enchanting Moomin family who are more popular today than ever around the world.

Paul Gravett

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