Beyond a world of Moomin, artist and writer Tove Jansson also known for mural paintings and works for public spaces from the 1940s onwards.
The topics that Jansson used in large-format works is often an escape from the harsh reality and misery of war. In addition to storytelling, the works are also intended to entertain and energize.
Tove Jansson brought the light and color of art to a recovering Finland from the wars of the 40s and 50s with her flexible frescoes and grandeur works in public spaces. Although some works are directed towards children, adults can also find different levels in them.
Stained-glass window decoration for Tullinpuomi restaurant, 1941
The stained-glass windows in Tullinpuomi restaurant are the first public space Tove Jansson perform. These elevator door decorations at a restaurant in Helsinki, Finland, were completed in 1941.
Painting on stained-glass window for Apollonkatu Girls’ School, 1944
The glass paintings are fine Tove Jansson Continue work at Apollonkatu Girls’ School in Helsinki. Currently, a copy for the original work of Jansson On display at the same facility, currently used for Minervaskolan Primary School.
Electricity & Resting after work, 1945
Tove Jansson received the first major offer of his career from the electromechanical company Oy Strömberg Ab in 1945 with their wish to have a mural for the factory cafeteria in Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki. Tove wanted to help workers feel relaxed and so she drew a moment of gentle relaxation. However, a client would be more interested in one depicting the factory, so Tove drew another picture with elements such as lightning and electrical cables showing relevance to the plant theme.
The picture for the canteen is named Electricity and Resting after work, completed in 1945.
Due to factory renovations in the 1960s, two works were removed from the canteen and donated to the City of Helsinki. They were recently on display at the Helsinki Museum of Art, Finland.
Party in the City & Party in the Countryside, 1947
In 1947, the City of Helsinki placed two large murals from Tove Jansson. The paintings were originally made for a restaurant in Helsinki City Hall. When she painted the frescoes, Party in the City (Party in town) and Party in the Countryside (Country Party) 1947, essentially for a reason to celebrate – the war is over and everyone once again has the freedom to cheer and dance.
In 1974 the frescoes were moved to the Arbis lobby, the Swedish adult educational center in Helsinki. In 2014, the Ateneum museum borrowed the murals for the exhibition Tove Jansson and Arbis already had high-quality replicas of their facility.
Now restored, the two original frescos have been moved to the Helsinki Museum of Art so that they will remain in good condition in the future.
Murals in fairy colors for a private preschool, 1949
In 1949, Tove Jansson Draw two murals for a private kindergarten in Kotka, Finland. This large panorama features the famous character’s appearance in Moomin’s story Tove as well as typical characters from fairy tales. They are done by technique al secco*.
The preschool facility has now been used as an office for the preschool administration in Kotka city and these works are not on public display.
*Al Secco: A painting technique in which the color is applied on dry mortar, a similar technique is Al Fresco (nd)
Wall painting for Kotka customs school, 1952
In 1952, a few years after the paintings for kindergarten in Kotka, Tove Also painted a mural of the cafeteria that currently serves the Etelä-Kymen Vocational College in Kotka.
The subject of the painting is the sailor, the lighthouse and the mermaid showing that this place used to be the canteen of the Maritime School. The painting on the cafeteria wall has been affected over the years, for example, due to the contamination of the cafeteria chairs and food. The plaster has flaked off in some places. According to historical data, the image of Moomin in this work may have disappeared due to the damage to the lower part of the painting.
A Story from the Bottom of the Sea, 1952
Hamina city in Finland has placed two murals from Tove Jansson to celebrate the city’s 300th anniversary in 1953.
Her mural bears the name A Story from the Bottom of the Sea completed for the Clubhouse in Hamina in 1952 depicting the seascape. Another painting from 1952 shows the history of the city of Hamina.
Painting at Domus Academy, 1953
In 1953, Tove Jansson paint the Domus Academy student dormitory in Helsinki and decorate the lower lobby elevator door. She lived in this building in the 1940s and made her mark on the walls of the building.
Domus Academy, later operating under the name Hostel Domus Academica, which renewed its brand in Spring 2019 and now operates as a hostel named after Both Helsinki.
Lintu Sininen (Bird blue), 1953
Mural of Tove Jansson drawn by al secco technique, Lintu Sininen, completed in 1953 in the large dining room of the Karjaa School. Below is a story told by an art historian Solveig Eriksson:
In Karjaa, Finland, Tove Jansson tasked with decorating the dining room of the building designed by Hilding Ekelund. The building then belonged to a Swedish elementary school.
The painting is 190 cm high and 360 cm wide, covering most of the rear wall of the dining room and is done by secco technique directly onto the wall. Jansson nearly forty shades of color were used when drawing this fresco. The color of the work is vibrant and varied, almost every detail has a different color, but the overall is harmonious and balanced, almost making us dreamy because of the tranquility emanating from the picture. As an artist, Tove wants to draw works that students in school can find details they like in pictures. Tove had simply described subjects that fascinated her as a child: cats, horses, lighthouses, seas and waterfalls.
In 1953, when a journalist from Västra-Nyland asked Jansson on picture details: Is the boy falling asleep on the other rock while reading his homework, Tove answered: “Everyone has the right to fall asleep for what makes them uncomfortable!”
The answer shows the humane attitude of Jansson made up of her humor. Jansson also said about Moomintroll on the left side of the picture: “The Moomintroll in this picture is very shy, that’s why you hide in the vegetation. He always changes colors according to his mood. Anyway, you’re not smart or talented, but you’re a very kind and likable person. ”
Ten Virgins, 1953
Elsi Borg, the architect of Teuva Church has placed a picture of the word worship Tove Jansson. In a month, Tove performed a 5-meter-wide painting on the wall of the church under construction in the summer of 1953, after spending the entire spring planning and preparing his work. Ten Virgins is the only worship painting that the painter ever painted.
The Teuva Church is still open and this piece can still be seen if you visit this place.
In June 1954, Tove painting Fantasy for the staff cafeteria at the Bank of the Nordic Union, Helsinki branch (the Bank’s headquarters at the time). Painting by technique tempera three meters wide on currently owned canvas Art Foundation Merita and is no longer in its original location or on public display at this time.
In the years 1955-1957, Tove Jansson painted murals of Moomin characters for the stairs of the Aurora Children’s Hospital in Helsinki, Finland. The idea behind the work has a name Play is that kids will be excited to watch the characters play and somewhat forget about being hospitalized.
These paintings have satisfied more than a million children and their families at Aurora Hospital while the outpatient clinic is being used. Aurora children’s units were moved to the University of Helsinki Central Hospital in 1997 and in 1998, Kari Petäjä and Maija Poskiparta made a copy of the mural for the Children’s Hospital stairs.
In Helsinki Museum of Art In Finland, there is an introduction to the murals sketches of the Aurora Hospital from the 1950s Tove Jansson. In addition to the initial draft sketches, a partial replica of the hospital mural has also been on display at the museum.
Three-part mural at Taikurinhattu Kindergarten, 1984
In 1984, Tove Jansson, then 70 years old, drew his last monumental piece for the Taikurinhattu Kindergarten in Pori, Finland. The great three-part mural showcases Moominvalley in spring, summer, and autumn. School designed by his brother Tuulikki Pietilä (mate of Tove Jansson) and his wife, the architect Reima and Raili Pietilä. The name of the school is a reference to Finn Family Moomintroll’s book Tove (Taikurinhattu in Finnish.)
Translation: Le Lin
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