Childhood & Early Life
Tove Marika Jansson was born in August 9, 1914 in Helsinki, then part of Grand Duchy of Finland in the Russian Empire. Her mother Signe Hammarsten-Jansson was a graphic designer and illustrator and her father, Viktor Jansson, was a sculptor.
The family belonged to the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. Tove had two brothers, Lars and Per, both of whom also became artists and writers.
Jansson studied art from 1930 to 1933 in Stockholm, Sweden at the ‘University College of Arts, Crafts and Design’.
From 1933-1937, Jansson studied at the ‘Finnish Academy of Fine Arts’ in Helsinki, Finland. The following year, she studied at ‘L'Ecole d'Adrien Holy and L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts’ in Paris, France.
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Throughout the 1930s, Jansson traveled extensively throughout Western Europe, working as an illustrator for book covers, advertisements and postcards. In 1943, she had her first solo art exhibition.
In 1945, her first children's book was published, 'The Moomins and the Great Flood'. The same year, she was commissioned to paint a mural for a factory in Pitäjänmäki, Finland.
A year later, in 1946, she published 'Comet in Moominland'. The second book in the ‘Moomins’ series also became quite popular like its predecessor.
In 1948, she published 'Finn Family Moomintroll', the first of her books to achieve worldwide fame. The following year, she wrote a play based on her book 'Comet in Moominland'.
In 1950, she published 'The Exploits of Moominpappa', which was the fourth book in Moomin series. Few chapters of the book would go on to inspire the Moomin TV Series later.
In 1952, Jansson published the picture book 'The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My'.
In 1954, she published 'Moominsummer Madness'. The same year she was hired to paint the altarpiece for a church in Teuva, Finland.
In 1957, Jansson published 'Moominland Midwinter'. The book marked a distinct change in the narrative of the series shifting the focus to ‘Moomintroll’.
Between 1960 and 1967, she held five solo exhibitions of her paintings. She also published another book in the Moomin series titled 'Moominpappa at Sea'.
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She published the short fiction work 'The Hobgoblin's Hat'. Two years later in 1968, she released her semi-autobiographical novel 'Sculptor's Daughter'.
In 1970, Jansson published 'Moominvalley in November', the last book in her Moomin series.
From 1977-1981, she illustrated and published seven books of 'Mumin' comic strips.
She also wrote and published five novels for adults and published five collections of short stories.
In 1984, she began painting murals featuring her 'Moomin' characters for several schools in and around Pori, Finland.
In 1996, three books of Jansson's short fiction were published posthumously: 'The Invisible Child', 'The Last Dragon in the World' and 'The Secret of the Hattifatteners'.
In 2002, the novel 'The Exploits of Mooninpappa, Described by Himself' was posthumously published.