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Tove Jansson

(Finland, 1914-2001)
400 000 - 500 000 SEK
36 400 - 45 500 EUR
38 100 - 47 600 USD
Hammer price
350 000 SEK
Covered by droit de suite

By law, the buyer will pay an artist fee for this work of art. This fee is 5% of the hammer price, or less. For more information about this law:

Sweden: BUS
Finland: Kuvasto

Purchasing info
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The artworks in this database are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without the permission of the rights holders. The artworks are reproduced in this database with a license from Bildupphovsrätt.

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Lena Rydén
Lena Rydén
Head of Art, Specialist Modern and 19th century Art
+46 (0)707 78 35 71
Tove Jansson
(Finland, 1914-2001)

"Italian landscape"

Signed Tove and dated San Gimignano -39. Canvas 50 x 61 cm.


Gift directly from the artist.
Thence by descent within the family.

More information

Tove Jansson was a multi-talented artist, with talents on many different levels - as a storyteller, illustrator, even as a set and costume designer - but she always saw herself primarily as a painter.

In 1933 she began studying at the Finnish Art Society's drawing school in Helsinki, commonly known as the Ateneum. She remained there until the spring of 1937, repeatedly dropping out of her studies. After four years, however, she had established herself as an artist. During this period, a lot was happening in the Finnish art world, which was turning towards European modernism and organising international exhibitions. Tove Jansson also travelled abroad and was inspired by the culture of Germany, especially Paris and Bretagne, and later Italy.

In 1938, she spent a scholarship in France and travelled to Italy in the late spring of 1939, where she visited the art historical sights of Campania from Verona southwards. In letters to her mother, she described how she finally drowned the woolen trousers (given to her by her mother) in Lago di Garda, similar to how the Moomintroll in The Comet Chase throws the woolen trousers he has received from his mother into the jaws of the crocodiles. From Florence, she tells her family in April 1939: "It is a great skill to be able to travel properly, and I am going to learn it." Travelling alone with only a single piece of luggage, she found that she could not move freely as a woman. This experience led her to feminism and she wrote letters to her friends about women's freedom, that she could not be free as an artist unless she was also free as a woman.

The painting in this auction was painted in San Gimignano, a small town near Siena in Tuscany, and dated 1939. After the outbreak of World War II in the autumn, Tove, who was an outspoken pacifist, took a clear stand against the war, for example as a cartoonist in the Swedish-language Finnish satirical magazine Garm.

Tove Jansson gave "Italian Landscape" as a gift to her uncle Harald Hammarsten. He was the brother of Signe Hammarsten-Jansson, Tove's mother, and the families spent a lot of time together at the summer house on Blidö in the Stockholm archipelago. The summer house on Blidö was an idyllic oasis for Tove, and glimpses of her summer holidays appear in several of her books.