Tove Jansson and her partner, the graphic artist Tuulikki Pietilä, donated a sizeable collection of art to Tampere Art Museum in 1986. The collection comprised 1009 drawings and paintings and 38 three-dimensional tableaux. The collection was first displayed in The Moomins exhibition at Tampere Art Museum along with other original sketches and book illustrations by Jansson. The tableaux are miniature Moomin-themed dioramas crafted by Jansson, Tuulikki Pietilä and their friend, the physician Pentti Eistola. The donation also comprised other works of art by Jansson as well as archival material.
Tampere Art Museum displayed the collection in a mini-museum called Moominvalley from 1987 to 2016. Moominvalley closed in October 2016 and moved to its new permanent home at Tampere Hall in 2017, whereupon its name was officially changed to the Moomin Museum. The official name of the collection remains the Tampere Art Museum Moominvalley Collection.
The core of the collection consists of original illustrations by Jansson for the twelve Moomin books she wrote and illustrated between 1945 and 1977. The majority are ink drawings on paper or board, along with nearly 50 gouache and watercolour paintings, roughly a dozen scratchboards, and a few ink washes as well as pen-and-washes. Their scale is small, most being quite close in size to their final publication format.
In addition to illustrations, a significant part of the collection consists of sketches, adaptations and unpublished drawings. The various alternative versions of the drawings yield fascinating insights into the evolution of Jansson’s style and her creative process.
The collection contains a total of 207 sketches and drawings for comic strips and comic book covers. Highlights include the very first Moomin comic trip that Jansson ever drew, which was published in the Swedish-language cultural periodical Nyt tid in 1947. It additionally comprises 500 of Jansson’s illustrations and cover drawings, most of which were published in the satirical journal Garm.
While Moomin books are highlighted, the collection also features over 200 of Jansson’s illustrations for other books. She illustrated a number of children’s titles, including classics such as Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
The collection is rounded out by 41 three-dimensional tableaux, two of which depict the Moominhouse, not to forget the bronze Moomintroll statue displayed outside the museum in Sorsapuisto Park. Most of the tableaux were created by Jansson’s partner, the graphic artist Tuulikki Pietilä, sometimes assisted by their friend, the physician Pentti Eistola. By her own account, Jansson took part “largely in the capacity of an assistant”.
A significant addition was made to the collection in 1993 with the added donation of 61 crates of archival material known as the Paraphernalia Collection. Jansson and Pietilä discovered the word ‘paraphernalia’ in a lexicon published by the Swedish Academy and decided that the closest corresponding word in Finnish is kama, or ‘junk’. The Paraphernalia Collection is an interesting supplement to the art collection, featuring items such as Moomin figures, materials used in the tableaux, photographs, slides and original letters.