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Moominvalley exhibition opens in London

25 October 2017

This month sees the opening of a retrospective exhibition of the celebrated Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson (1914-2001), creator of the Moomins. The exhibition of 150 works, including self-portraits and paintings never seen before in the UK, is set to run until the end of January 2018 at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London.

Born into a bohemian family and with parents who were themselves a graphic artist and a sculptor, Jansson was destined to be an artist from the beginning. Her literary career began in 1945 with the publication of the first Moomin story, The Moomins and the Great Flood, beautifully illustrated with sepia watercolour and pen and ink drawings by the author. The success of her Moomin books overshadowed Jansson’s wish to be seen as a serious painter, an issue that the Dulwich Picture Gallery is seeking to address with their sumptuous collection of paintings on show.

In 1971 Jansson branched into short story writing with her well-received collection The Listener (10395), two years after her book for adults The Sculptor’s Daughter (10057), which drew heavily on her childhood experiences, was published. There then followed a succession of short story books and novels including The Summer Book (7803), A Winter Book (7829), and Fair Play (11873).

Tove Jansson held a lifelong love of the sea and spent many of her summers on a small island in the Gulf of Finland, often accompanied by her partner the graphic artist, craft worker and academic Tuulikki Pietila. Models of the Moomin characters, made by Pietila and borrowed from a private collection, are also included in the show.

You can enter the magical world of the Moomins through the charming stories, suitable for children AND grown-ups:

Comet in Moominland(617268)

Finn Family Moomintroll(617033)

Moominland Midwinter(617270)

Tales from Moominvalley(617414)

The Moomins and the Great Flood (617413)