Tove Jansson was born 100 years ago today. If you live in Finland, you won’t have missed the anniversary Moomin mugs (with donations to UNICEF), the large and splendid retrospective of her work at the Ateneum national art gallery, or the biography “Work and Love” (imperative!) Tee työtä ja rakasta (Tammi 2013).
That biography, by art historian Tuula Karjalainen, is a really beautiful edition, with lots of Tove’s sketches and paintings as well as photographs. It came out in German last month and it’s available in English in the US this month, and in the UK this November. The author has worked for Kiasma modern art museum in Helsinki, but besides the art, she really wanted to put Tove in her cultural context as the person who, already as a little girl, wrote that “freedom is the best thing.”
Catch the Ateneum exhibition while you can (until 7th September – this painting is from it), or if you can’t make that, Tales from the Nordic Archipelago, which has original photos and early first editions, is at the ICA in London until 24th August. If you’re nowhere near either, you can hear Tove reading The Dangerous Journey (in Swedish) here, alongside several other recordings of her reading her own work. Other celebrations around the world are on the centenary website.