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Tove Jansson’s anniversary: Stamps to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Finnish artist and writer behind the Moomins

Tove Jansson’s anniversary: Stamps to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Finnish artist and writer behind the Moomins
Written by editor-in-chief
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On Friday January 31, Itella Posti Oy will publish a miniature sheet consisting of two stamps and a beautiful gift set to mark the 100th anniversary of the Finnish artist and writer Tove Jansson (1914–2001).

Tove Jansson, world-famous for the Moomins, was a versatile artist who completed many paintings, works of graphic arts and public works of art during her career. In addition to the Moomin books, she received recognition for her short stories and novels. Tove Jansson was a prolific artist whose career started in the 1930s and continued long into the 1990s.

The sheet of two 1st class stamps features views of the archipelago where Tove Jansson spent a lot of her time as a child and after that. Of the Moomin characters, Sniff appears in the stamps as a silhouette standing in Jansson’s hand. The sheet also features the Tove 100 anniversary logo. The stamps were designed by graphic designer Klaus Welp.

Tove Jansson’s anniversary booklet

An experimental artist and a writer with an eye for details

As an artist, Jansson mastered many techniques and held exhibitions that took her art into new and sometimes experimental directions. In addition to paintings, her works include a lot of works of graphic arts and public works of art from murals to mosaics. Throughout her life, open-mindedness and the pursuit of freedom were among Tove Jansson’s strengths.

Tove Jansson also became known as a writer who put her mind to writing with the utmost meticulousness. Her short stories and novels are known for minimalistic narration and careful composition.

The Moomins remain popular from generation to generation

The first time Jansson drew the Moomintroll character it was for Garm, a liberal and satirical magazine that sniped at the world of global leaders during the Second World War.  The Moomins and the Great Flood, published in 1945, was the first in a series of books that became the most visible and best-known part of Tove Jansson’s career. The third Moomin book, Finn Family Moomintroll, was published in 1948 and increased Jansson’s fame outside Finland and Sweden.

In the 1950s, Tove Jansson started to draw and write a Moomin comic strip for the most widely read evening newspaper in the world, Evening News, which was published in London. Soon the comic strip was read in more than 20 countries.

The popularity of the Moomins has continued from generation to generation. The Moomin books have been translated into more than 30 languages and the Moomins have become familiar figures on television, in films, on theatre stages and in opera, too.

The Moomins have also been a popular theme for stamps. From 1992 to 2013, Itella Posti Oy has published ten stamp series with a total of 45 different Moomin-themed stamps.

Designing the stamps was an honor

Graphic designer Klaus Welp, the designer of Tove Jansson’s anniversary stamps and gift set, considered the task an honor. “My first thought was that Tove Jansson is too great a figure for a postage stamp. The second was that the stamp should show the Tove Jansson behind the Moomins, her desire to be remembered as an artist and writer. My third feeling was a shudder over being given the chance to design a stamp in honor of my own and my family’s favorite artist.”

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