Exhibition: Tove Jansson (1914-2001)

This exhibition CLOSED on Sun, 28th Jan 2018

This exhibition has finished.

Coronavirus: Events may be cancelled and venues closed at short notice, you are advised to check on their websites before making a trip.

Cost: £15.50

Dulwich Picture Gallery presents the first major UK exhibition of work by one of the most celebrated illustrators of the 20th century, Tove Jansson.

Known internationally as creator of the Moomin characters and books, a phenomenon which continues to stretch across generations, Jansson’s wider outputs of graphic illustration and painting are relatively unseen outside her home country of Finland.

The exhibition brings together 150 works, including a large body of self-portraits, landscapes and still-lifes never seen before in the UK and a series of Moomin drawings discovered just last year at the British Cartoon Archive.

Arranged thematically the show reintroduces Jansson as an artist of exceptional breadth and talent, tracing the key stages of her prolific career including her surrealist-inspired paintings of the 1930s and abstract works of the ‘60s, her satirical anti-war cartoons and book jacket designs, as well as her original Moomin illustrations and comic strips.

Jansson produced a rapid succession of self-portraits during the 1930s and 40s as she sought her identity as an artist. A key selection will run as a powerful motif in the show, allowing us to interpret the emotional climate of the different stages of her life.

During her first decades as an artist, Jansson produced an astonishing variety of illustrations. At the young age of 15, her already formidable talent for caricature caught the attention of the liberal political satire magazine, Garm, and she went on to draw more than 500 caricatures and 100 cover images for them.

Illustrating for Garm provided Jansson with the experimental space to introduce the first resemblance of Moomintroll who appeared as the long snouted troll, ‘Snork’ in 1943. He would have frequent cameo appearances in her future drawings for the magazine, appearing in the sidelines or embroiled in the cartoon itself.

The Moomin characters brought together Jansson’s gifts as an artist with her fluency as a writer. A display of original book illustrations for the series along with comic strips for the Finnish magazine, Ny Tid and the widely read, The Evening News will provide an insight into the genesis of the Moomin phenomenon. It will also highlight key influences on the subject and development of Jansson’s illustrations including her experience of the war and the Jansson family dynamic.

Contact and Booking Details

More information at this website.

No need to book tickets - just turn up on the day.


Dulwich Picture Gallery,

Gallery Road, London ,
SE21 7AD

Map of Dulwich Picture Gallery


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