Britain’s first major retrospective of the Moomins creator Tove Jansson is opening in London on Wednesday (25th October).
“Tove Jansson 1914-2001” will bring together 150 works at Dulwich Picture Gallery, featuring her surrealist-inspired paintings of the 1930s and abstract work of the 60’s, her satirical anti-war cartoons and book jacket designs, as well as early sketches for the Moomin characters and comic strips.
According to the Guardian, the famous characters have “crept into half the exhibition space and taken over the final room appearing as some little blobby creatures in a glass case” as well as original artwork for the comic strip, reportedly believed to be lost before turning up in an uncataglogued envelope in the Cartoon Archive in Kent.
Clare Simpson, the head of exhibitions at Dulwich, told the Guardian: "I feel sorry for Tove really. The Moomins brought her fame and money, which bought her freedom, but they also cannibalised her time and creative energy and distracted her from what she considered her real work.”
The exhibition’s curator, Sointu Fritze believes Jansson took the Moomins seriously.
“Although Tove Jansson was sometimes tired of the Moomins or frustrated to be known primarily as the ‘Moomin Mamma who can also paint’, she did take the work on Moomins as seriously, with a strong devotion, as her painting,” Fritze told the newspaper.
The exhibition opens with Jansson’s self-portraits, landscapes and still-lifes, many of which have never been seen before in the UK. According to the gallery, she always considered herself primarily a painter.
It was revealed last month that novelist Will Self is to star alongside Kate Winslet and Rosamund Pike in a new Moomins animation, “Moominvalley”, been developed by Finnish production company, Gutsy Animation, following a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign.
"Tove Jansson 1914 - 2001" runs at the Dulwich Picture Gallery from 25th October until 28th January 2018.