Brought up by artistic parents, Jansson studied art from 1930 to 1938 in Stockholm, Helsinki and then Paris. Her first solo art exhibition was in 1943. At the same time, she was writing short stories and articles for publication, as well as creating the graphics for book covers and other purposes. She continued to work as an artist for the rest of her life, alongside her writing.
Jansson is best known as the author of the Moomin books for children. The first such book, The Moomins and the Great Flood, appeared in 1945, though it was the next two books, Comet in Moominland and Finn Family Moomintroll, published in 1946 and 1948 respectively, that brought her fame.
Starting with the semi-autobiographical Bildhuggarens dotter (Sculptor's Daughter) in 1968, she wrote six novels and five books of short stories for adults.
Tove Jansson was born in Helsinki, Grand Duchy of Finland. Her family, part of the Swedish-speaking (Swedish: finlandssvensk) minority of Finland, was an artistic one: her father Viktor Jansson was a sculptor and her mother Signe Hammarsten-Jansson was a graphic designer and illustrator. Tove's siblings also became artists: Per Olov Jansson became a photographer and Lars Jansson an author and cartoonist. Whilst their home was in Helsinki, the family spent many of their summers in a rented cottage on an island near Porvoo, 50 km east of Helsinki.
Tove Jansson & Tuulikki Pietilä with the Moominhouse
Tove Marika Jansson was a Swedish-speaking Finnish novelist, painter, illustrator and comic strip author. Briefly engaged in the 1940s to Atos Wirtanen, she later during her studies met her future life partner Tuulikki Pietilä. The two women collaborated on many works and projects, including a model of the Moominhouse, in collaboration with Pentti Eistola. This is now exhibited at the Moomin museum in Tampere. Jansson is best known as the author of the Moomin books for children.
Vivica Bander & Tove Jansson: A friend of Tove Jansson, Vivica Bandler became known as the director of Lilla teatern, the Swedish theatre in Helsinki. Under her directorship, Lilla teatern gained a reputation across the Nordic countries for its avant-garde repertoire. Bandler is also remembered as the legendary director of the City Theatre of Stockholm, Sweden. Although Bandler lead an openly homosexual life, this didn't reflect very much on her public image. Some of her work was specifically focused on lesbian themes.
Tuulikki Pietilä, Tove Jansson and Signe Hammarsten-Jansson in 1958
Tove Jansson & Tuulikki Pietilä
Jansson studied at University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm in 1930–33, the Graphic School of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in 1933–1937 and finally at L'École d'Adrien Holy and L'École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1938. She displayed a number of artworks in exhibitions during the 30s and early 40s, and her first solo exhibition was held in 1943.
Aged 14, she wrote and illustrated her first picture book "Sara och Pelle och näckens bläckfiskar" ("Sara and Pelle and the Water Sprite's Octopuses") although it was not published until 1933, and had drawings published in magazines in the 1920s. During the 1930s she made several trips to other European countries, and wrote and illustrated short stories and articles which were also published in magazines, periodicals and daily papers. During this period, Jansson designed many book covers, adverts and postcards, and, following her mother, she drew illustrations for Garm, an anti-fascist Finnish-Swedish satirical magazine.
Jansson wrote and illustrated her first Moomin book, The Moomins and the Great Flood, in 1945, during World War II. She said later that the war had depressed her and she had wanted to write something naïve and innocent. This first book was hardly noticed, but the next Moomin books, Comet in Moominland (1946) and Finn Family Moomintroll (1948), made her famous. She went on to write six more Moomin books, a number of picture books and comic strips. Her fame spread quickly and she became Finland's most widely read author abroad. For her "lasting contribution to children's literature" she received the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing in 1966.
Jansson continued painting and writing for the rest of her life, although her contributions to the Moomin series became rare after 1970. Her first foray outside children's literature was Bildhuggarens dotter (Sculptor's Daughter), a semi-autobiographical book written in 1968. After that, she authored five more novels, including Sommarboken (The Summer Book) and five collections of short stories. Although she had a studio in Helsinki, she lived many summers on a small island called Klovharu, one of the Pellinki Islands near the town of Porvoo. Jansson's and Pietilä's travels and summers spent together on the Klovharu island in Pellinki have been captured on several hours of film, shot by Pietilä. Several documentaries have been made of this footage, the latest being Haru, yksinäinen saari (Haru, the lonely island) (1998) and Tove ja Tooti Euroopassa (Tove and Tooti in Europe) (2004).
A friend of Tove Jansson, Vivica Bandler (1917-2004) became known as the producer and director of Lilla teatern, the Swedish theatre in Helsinki. Under her directorship, Lilla teatern gained a reputation across the Nordic countries for its avant-garde repertoire. Bandler is also remembered as the legendary director of the City Theatre of Stockholm, Sweden.
Although Bandler lead an openly homosexual life, this didn't reflect very much on her public image. Bandler was the co-writer of a screenplay to a lesbian movie entitled Jäähyväiset (Farewell), directed by Tuijamaija Niskanen in 1982. Some of her work was specifically focused on lesbian themes, including her stage adaptation of Klaus Mann's novel Flykt mot nord.
Tuulikki Pietilä (18 February 1917 – 23 February 2009) was a Finnish graphic artist and professor, born in Seattle, Washington. Pietilä was one of the most influential people in Finnish graphic arts, and her work has been shown in numerous art exhibitions. She worked as a teacher in the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, for many years, and later trained graphic artists and wrote instructional books about graphic arts.
Pietilä began her studies at the Turku drawing school, which she attended from 1933 to 1936, and went on to study at the drawing school of the Finnish art association (1936–1940), the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm (1945–1949) and the Fernand Léger Art Academy in Paris (1949–1953). During her studies, she met her future life partner Tove Jansson; they collaborated on many works and projects, including the Moomin works, in collaboration with Pentti Eistola. These are now exhibited at the Moomin museum in Tampere.
Jansson's and Pietilä's travels and summers spent together on the Klovharu island in Pellinki have been captured on several hours of film, shot by Pietilä. Several documentaries have been made of this footage, the latest being Haru, yksinäinen saari (Haru, the lonely island) (1998) and Tove ja Tooti Euroopassa (Tove and Tooti in Europe) (2004).
The first exhibition of Pietilä's work was in Turku in 1935. Her first private exhibition was in 1951. She has participated in the Purnu group's summer exhibitions since 1967, with a retroactive exhibition in 1986. She has also participated in several exhibitions abroad. Pietilä has gained praise for her work; she was awarded the Pro Finlandia medal in 1963 and the title of professor in 1982.
Pietilä inspired the energetic figure Tooticky in Jansson's Moomin books. The architect Reima Pietilä was Tuulikki Pietilä's brother.
Pietilä died at her home on 23 February 2009.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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