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Moomin Exhibition at Mori Arts Center Gallery


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  • Moomin: The Art and the Story

    9 April – 16 June 2019
    Mori Arts Center Gallery (Roppongi Hills)

    The Moomins and their friends are beloved characters of children’s books by author and artist Tove Jansson, which also enthrall adults in many countries around the world, translated into more than 50 languages.

    The coming exhibit will showcase the art and the story of the Moomins through more than 500 articles, which comprise mostly Tove Jansson’s original drawings and sketches. Those precious works, many of which will be shown for the first time in Japan, come from the Moomin Museum and the private collection of Oy Moomin Characters, Ltd.

    Finland – Japan 100

    The show will mark the centenary of the diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan. And what else could be more emblematic?

    The Moomins, almost quasi-national icons for the Finnish people, have drawn a large number of fans in Japan, perhaps the largest outside Scandinavia apart from the UK – the popularity due largely to the TV animation series and movies produced in the country.

    The Moomin Exhibition will open at Mori Arts Center Gallery in Roppongi Hills, following the “Hokusai Updated” Exhibition.

    ムーミン展 森アーツセンターギャラリー
    The exhibition poster

    Tove Marika Jansson (1914-2001)

    Tove Jansson was born in Helsinki, Finland, to a Swedish-speaking family of artists. She studied design and art in Stockholm, Helsinki, Paris and Florence.

    From a young age Tove Jansson worked as an illustrator and artist, including for the Finnish satirical magazine “Garm”. The first Moomin book was published at the end of the Second World War. The series soon became international bestsellers in the 1950s.

    Tove Jansson was awarded many prestigious prizes, such as the Hans Christian Andersen Medal from the International Board on Books for Young People in 1966 and the Finnish National Literature Award (1963, 1971 and 1982).

    Tove Jansson also visited Japan.

    ムーミン展 森アーツセンターギャラリー
    Tove Jansson “Snufkin”
    Year unknown, ink on paper
    © Moomin Characters (TM)


    Highlights of the Moomin Exhibition

    ◆ Original Moomin works from the Moomin Museum

    The Moomin Museum in Tampere, Finland is the world’s only Moomin Museum presenting the original Moomin works of the author and artist Tove Jansson (as well as of her life partner Tuulikki Pietilä and their friend Pentti Eistola).

    For this exhibition, many of Tove Jansson’s drawings and sketches of the Moomins will travel from the museum to Japan for display. The exhibits also include her illustrations published in the satirical magazine “Garm”, in which she inserted Moomin troll figures.

    ムーミン展 森アーツセンターギャラリー
    The Moomin Museum
    Photo: Jari Kuusenaho / Tampere Art Museum

    ◆ Introducing 9 Moomin books through original works

    The show will highlight the nine published Moomin books with original drawings and sketches by Tove Jansson:

    • The Moomins and the Great Flood (1945)
    • Comet in Moominland (1946)
    • The Happy Moomins (1948)
    • Moominpappa’s Memoirs (1950)
    • Moominsummer Madness (1954)
    • Moominland Midwinter (1957)
    • Tales from Moominvalley (1962)
    • Moominpappa at Sea (1965)
    • Moominvalley in November (1970)


    ムーミン展 森アーツセンターギャラリー
    Tove Jansson “Moominsummer Madness”
    1954, ink on paper, The Moomin Museum
    © Moomin Characters (TM)

    ムーミン展 森アーツセンターギャラリー
    Tove Jansson “Comet in Moominland”
    1946, ink on paper, The Moomin Museum
    © Moomin Characters (TM)


    ◆ Special exhibits selected from a private collection

    Unique pieces and precious articles will be selected for the show from the collection of Oy Moomin Characters, Ltd., the Jansson’s family company licensing the use of the Moomin characters internationally.

    They include original illustrations for Easter cards and calendars, as well as bank and newspaper advertisements.

    ムーミン展 森アーツセンターギャラリー
    Tove Jansson “Svenska Dagbladet advertisement”
    1957, print
    © Moomin Characters (TM)

    ムーミン展 森アーツセンターギャラリー
    Tove Jansson “Easter card” (original drawing)
    c. 1940, gouache and ink on paper
    © Moomin Characters (TM)

    ムーミン展 森アーツセンターギャラリー
    Tove Jansson “Forenings banken advertisement”
    1956, print
    © Moomin Characters (TM)


    ◆ Tove Jansson and Japan

    To celebrate the 100th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Finland and Japan, the show will also present, through photographs and sketches, Japan as loved by Tove Jansson.

    Some Moomin illustrations will be displayed side by side with Ukiyo-e works, like this one with Hiroshige’s “One-hundred Famous Views of Edo: Sudden Shower over Shin-Ohashi Bridge”.

    ムーミン展 森アーツセンターギャラリー
    Tove Jansson “Moominpappa at Sea”
    1965, ink on paper, The Moomin Museum
    © Moomin Characters (TM)

* The above is the information known at the time of publication and subject to change without prior notice.

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