Tove Jansson (1914–2001) are amongst the most cherished pieces in the HAM collection. HAM has dedicated some of its galleries to an exhibition of the artist’s life and works.

In the gallery’s new hanging, Tove Jansson’s frescoes Party in the City (1947) and Party in the Country (1947) are joined by 13 photographs from Per Olov Jansson , Tove Jansson’s watercolour painting Sniff and the Children Rowing (1955) and excerpts from the documentary film Haru, Island of the Solitary. The film includes Super 8 footage shot by Tove Jansson and Tuulikki Pietilä during the summers that they spent together on the island of Klovharu. Additionally, a copy of one of Tove Jansson’s sea-themed paintings is recreated on one of the gallery’s walls.

Photo: Per Olov Jansson
Photo: Per Olov Jansson
Tove Jansson: Sniff out rowing with children, 1955© Tove Jansson Estate

Tove Jansson spent nearly all the summers of her life in the Pellinki archipelago, which is located approximately 50 kilometres from Helsinki. The Jansson family had a rental cottage there and later a more permanent place on the island of Bredskär, where Jansson and her brother Lars built a cabin. From the 1960s to the early 1990s, Jansson spent her summers on the island of Klovharu with her partner, graphic artist Tuulikki Pietilä.

Photo: Per Olov Jansson

The photographs on display were shot by Jansson’s brother, photographer Per Olov Jansson (1920–2019). He photographed his sister and their family’s life in the archipelago for several decades.

Kaupunginkellari alkuperäisessä asussaan © Helsingin kaupunginmuseo / Foto Roos
Kaupunginkellari alkuperäisessä asussaan © Helsingin kaupunginmuseo / Foto Roos

The Kaupunginkellari restaurant, located in the Helsinki City Hall, was opened in 1947 to serve as a staff canteen and a venue for official functions. In addition to Tove Jansson’s frescos, the interior also included a group of reliefs by Michael Schilkin and pictures etched on windows by Yrjö Rosola. The lamps in the exhibition are the same lamps that were used in the restaurant. Their designer is Paavo Tynell (1890–1973), who designed lighting fixtures for numerous public premises. The interior of the restaurant was a uniform and high-class example of the modernism of its day. It was dismantled in 1965 when the canteen was moved to new premises, and very little of the interior was left intact. The works of art were then added to the city’s art collection.

Tove Jansson was a true prodigy as an artist. Though perhaps best known as the creator of the Moomins, she was also a painter, writer, comics artist, illustrator and script writer.

Through words and pictures, Tove’s stories have won the hearts of countless people all over the world.