In a letter signed in November 1974 by the chairman of the cultural committee Stig Stenbom and the cultural director Bengt Skoog, you can take part in the enthusiastic spirit that prevailed at this time.
During the winter, they chose to invest in two exhibition periods consecutively with art from Finland.
In the letter (which was included as a preface to the catalog), it can be read that Södertälje has developed into a distinctly immigrant municipality in the last ten years. The municipality now has 13% immigrants and it prides itself on having a diversity of fifty nationalities. Of the then 10,300 new Swedes, 7,500 were from Finland. The letter further states that it is thus a rich fund of experiences, traditions and life patterns that have been added to our municipality.
With this background, they thought it was time to put their glasses on Finland and, as they write, create additional conditions for mutual understanding between the Swedish and Finnish groups in Södertälje.
The first exhibitions during the Finnish art months were Everyday Finland / Arkipäivän Suomi 13 current artists (see other text) and Moomintrollet original drawings and books by Tove Jansson. The second exhibition Finnish Golden Age art – Folk life, fairy tale, nature – Edelfelt, Gallén Kalela, Halonen, Järnefelt, Rissanen and Simberg.
In the MUMINTROLLET IN SÖDERTÄLJE – MUUMI SÖDERTÄLJESSÄ – illustrations in the original by Tove Jansson, drawings and watercolors from 1932-1952 were shown, as well as 36 illustrations from the books in a span from 1940-1970. From her well-known, dear and much-read books about Moomin, one could take part in illustrations from “Dad and the Sea”, “Troll Winter”, “Late November” and much more. It was also the first time that Tove Jansson’s original Moomin illustrations were shown in Sweden. The art gallery’s curator Per Drougge (later art gallery director, cultural curator) speaks lyrically about the illustrations for Länstidningen’s Christer Duke. “ This is a drawing material that is shown with the greatest joy, ”says curator Drougge. The character of Tove Jansson’s characters is so expressive. The human character of the various animals and trolls is depicted with such a fine, satirical cape. /… / And Tove’s drawings have a fine artistic quality. Just look at the originals of “Late November” with its poetic mood where everything is wrapped in a fog. “.
On the ground floor of the then art gallery, Drougge had compiled a book table. About 50 of Tove’s books in about 20 translations. On drawing screens you could get acquainted with her debut book from 1945 “The Little Troll and the Great Flood”. The exhibition also showed her illustrations to other authors such as Lewis Carroll, Bonnier’s edition of “Alice in Wonderland” and Tolkien, Rabén and Sjögren’s edition of “The Hobbit Bilbo”. Christer Duke writes “It is interesting to be able to approach Tove Jansson’s way of working, to look for the exact expression of her characters. The sketch sheets for “Bilbo” show how she often works in slightly cinematic image sequences before she reaches the final image. “.
In archive material there was also a letter from Tove Jansson to Per Drougge which we are happy to share with you.
Sources: catalog texts quotes: Stig Stenbom, Bengt Skoog, div. material from the art gallery’s archive, letter from Tove Jansson to Per Drougge 11 December 1974, Länstidningen 3 January 1975, compiled by Anneli Karlsson.