A few hours still separate us from November, but many magazines and sites are already suggesting us ideas about Christmas shopping and things to do for the festive season, not to mention trending agencies trying to spot what will be fashionable in the next few months.
If you like taking a note in advance of such things, add to your diary the UK retrospective dedicated to Tove Jansson, set for next Autumn at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London (25 October 2017 to 28 January 2018).
Jansson is better known as the creator of the Moomin characters and books, but her paintings and illustrations are rarely seen outside Finland, her home country.
The exhibition will be divided in themes, tracing the key stages of her prolific career, including her surrealist-inspired paintings from the 1930s and abstract works, her anti-war cartoons and book jacket designs, and her original Moomin illustrations and comic strips.
The event will feature around 150 works, including self-portraits (Jansson produced many of them between the '30s and the '40s – check out "The Smoking Girl", portraying the artist during a cigarette break, and compare it with "Lynx Boa" that shows her in a more elegant and resolute pose), landscapes and still-lifes never seen before in the UK and a series of Moomin drawings found uncatalogued and unrecognised at the British Cartoon Archive.
The section dedicated to her collaboration with liberal political satire magazine Garm will be particularly interesting. Jansson started collaborating with the magazine when she was 15 and her works show her talent for caricatures and illustrations, and her opposition to war, fascism and totalitarianism.
A character resembling the Moomintroll can already be spotted in the pages of Garm in 1943, it was called Snork and appeared here and there in her drawings for the magazine.
The first Moomins book was published in 1945: these new characters allowed Jansson to combine illustration with storytelling and reveal how the inspirations behind the Moomin family dynamic derived from her own family.
Sophia Jansson, Chairman of the Board and Creative Director at Oy Moomin Characters Ltd (and Tove's niece) states on the Dulwich Picture Gallery site: "It was hugely important to Tove that she be recognised as a talented fine artist in addition to being the creator of the Moomins. Balancing her painting and her other projects alongside the demands that the Moomins made of her was something she struggled with all her life. I'm delighted that Dulwich Picture Gallery is putting on this exhibition which will make Tove's wider artistic output accessible to a UK audience, who may not yet be familiar with her work outside of Moominvalley."
If you want to catch the exhibition before then, you can do so at the Millesgården in Stockholm, Sweden (until January), then the exhibition will move to the Göteborgs Konstmuseum in Gothenburg, Sweden, and GL Strand, Copenhagen, Denmark before arriving to the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London next Autumn.
London will also welcome a Moomin extravaganza at the Southbank Centre: "Adventures in Moominland" (from December 2016 till April 2017) will invite people to admire illustrations, artworks, 3D models and objects from Jansson's studio and house while wandering around immersive worlds straight out of the Moomin books.
But Jansson's Moomins will be relevant in the next few months also in fashion: the Moomins appear indeed in Aalto's Spring/Summer 2017 collection. Showcased during Paris Fashion Week and entitled "Uusi Fantasia" (Finnish for "New Fantasy"), the collection by Tuomas Merikoski featured prints from Jansson's 1977 book The Dangerous Journey.
The latter follows the nightmarish adventures of Susanna, the Hemulen, Sniff, Sorry-Ooo and Thingummy & Bob through Moomin Valley.
Susanna's boredom and desire for a more interesting life and her fantastic journey (courtesy of a pair of glasses...) was channeled via ordinary pieces such as a grungey shirt that was disassembled and re-stitched together to reincorporate illustrations from the book.
The DIY teen approach continued through a cropped biker jacket that included a hand-painted version of Susanna's cat (wide eyed monster version...) at the back and a medal-like decoration recreated out of squashed and flattened metal bottle caps, and a frayed sweater with some childish embroideries.
The main idea behind this collection was recreating a wardrobe imperfectly and partially hacked by a teenager who decorated and vandalised garments with Jansson's illustrations.
The mood was also Moomin like: there was indeed a touch of Moomin eccentricity in the trench coat with an illustration of Susanna's cat and in the bucket hats with rows of pearls dangling from the brim, while the outdoor freedom of characters à la Snufkin was evoked by simple and basic shirts matched with drawstring pants.
A green Moomin print was mainly used for more refined grown-up evening pieces and the collection also included hand-embroidered Moomin shoes.
This is not the first time the Moomins get fashionable: Snorkmaiden was lured by Haute Couture and by a bikini in Moomins on the Riviera (the 2014 film directed by Xavier Picard); a while back Uniqlo released a successful collection that featured the Moomin characters and prints taken from Jansson's books also appeared in Ivana Helsinki's A/W2016 collection.
You can keep up to date with everything Moomin also on the official Instagram page, but, let's hope that these collaborations between fashion and the Moomins will not just be commercial ventures, but will reshift the attention to the messages behind Tove Jansson's art.
As Sointu Fritze, chief curator at the Ateneum Museum in Helsinki and curator of the exhibition that will kick off next year at the Dulwich Gallery, states: "In Europe and the world today, Tove's art and stories are more relevant than ever. Her entire oeuvre and way of thinking are characterised by the acceptance of differences. Although the family circle – both the artist's own and the fictional Moomin family – is central, the door is always open for those seeking shelter. Tove Jansson's works convey a profound understanding of human diversity."
Image credits for this post
Tove Jansson in her studio ©Per Olov Jansson
Tove Jansson, Smoking Girl (Self-Portrait), 1940, Private Collection. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Yehia Eweis. ©Moomin Characters
Tove Jansson, Lynx Boa (Self-Portrait), 1974, Oil, 73 x 60.5 cm, Private Collection. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Yehia Eweis
Tove Jansson, Garm N. 10, 1938, Private Collection. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Jenni Nurminen
Tove Jansson, Illustration for the book Moominland Midwinter, c. 1956, scrape drawing on cardboard, 13 x 18,5 cm, Private Collection. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen.
Tove Jansson, Sleeping in the Roots, 1930s, gouache and Indian ink on paper, 22.1 x 26.7 cm, Tampere Art Museum, Moominvalley. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Yehia Eweis.
Tove Jansson, Family, 1942, Oil, 89 x 116 cm, Private Collection. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen
Tove Jansson swimming ©Per Olov Jansson
Tove Jansson, Comic strip Moomin on the Riviera, 1955, British Cartoon Archive, University of Kent. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Jenni Nurminen