Tuulikki Pietilä

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Tuulikki Pietilä
Pietilä in 1964
Born18 February 1917
Died23 February 2009(2009-02-23) (aged 92)
Helsinki, Finland
NationalityFinnish American
Fernand Léger Art Academy
Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki
PartnerTove Jansson

Ida Helmi Tuulikki Pietilä[1] (18 February 1917 – 23 February 2009) was an American-born Finnish graphic artist and professor. Pietilä is considered one of Finland's most influential graphic artists, with her work being shown in multiple art exhibitions. She worked as a teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, and later trained graphic artists and wrote multiple books about graphic arts.

Personal life[edit]

Pietilä was born in Seattle, Washington, United States, before moving with her parents to Finland as a child. Pietilä had a brother, Reima Pietilä, who was a noted architect.[2]

Pietilä died in 2009 in Helsinki, at the age of 92. She bequeathed more than 1,400 pieces of art to Ateneum.[2]


Pietilä started her studies at Turku School of Drawing [fi] (now the TUAS Arts Academy at Turku University of Applied Sciences), where she attended between 1933 and 1936. She went on to study at the drawing school of the Finnish Art Association between 1936 and 1940; the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm between 1945 and 1949; and the Fernand Léger Art Academy in Paris between 1949 and 1953. During her studies she met the artist Tove Jansson, who later became her life partner.[3]

Pietilä's work covered many mediums, including woodcuts and linographs, and utilised multiple styles, including realism and cubism. The first exhibition of Pietilä's work was held in Turku in 1935 when she was a student. Her first private exhibition was in 1951. From 1967, she participated in the Purnu group's summer exhibitions, and a retrospective exhibition of her work there was held in 1986. Pietilä garnered acclaim for her work, and was awarded the Order of the Lion of Finland in 1963; she became a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, where she had previously been a student, in 1982.[2]

Relationship with Tove Jansson[edit]

Pietilä became reacquainted with Jansson in 1955;[4] they went on to become romantic partners until Jansson's death in 2001. Pietilä and Jansson collaborated on many projects, including many related to Jansson's characters, the Moomins; 43 three-dimensional pieces created by Pietilä are now exhibited at the Moomin Museum in Tampere.[5] Pietilä is believed to be the inspiration for the character Too-Ticky in the Moomin books.[6]

Pietilä and Jansson spent many summers on Klovaharu island [fi] in Pellinki; these travels were documented by Pietilä in several hours of film. Several documentaries have been made from this footage, including Haru, yksinäinen saari (Haru, the lonely island; 1998) and Tove ja Tooti Euroopassa (Tove and Tooti in Europe, 2004).[7]

Pietilä was Jansson's companion at the Presidential Palace's Independence Day reception in 1992; they have retrospectively been described as being the first female same-sex couple to attend the event as guests.[8]


  1. ^ Vem och vad 1996, p. 442. Helsingfors 1996. ISBN 951-50-0800-X
  2. ^ a b c "Graphic Artist Tuulikki Pietilä Dies at 92". YLE. 2009-03-21. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  3. ^ Hassel, Ing-Marie. "Tove Janssons mumintroll" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2007-04-09.
  4. ^ Law, Katie (January 9, 2014). "Mamma of All the Moomins". Evening Standard. London. p. A34. Retrieved December 19, 2022 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  5. ^ Kivi, Mirja (2000). Muumilaasko: Tarinoista museokokoelmaksi (in Finnish). Espoo: Schildt. p. 75. ISBN 951-50-1135-3.
  6. ^ Ahola, Suvi (2008). "Jansson, Tove (1914–2001)". Biografiakeskus. Fletcher, Roderick (trans.). Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  7. ^ Karjalainen, Tuula (2014). Tove Jansson: work and love. Translated by David McDuff. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-1-84614-848-4. OCLC 897502503.
  8. ^ Who's who in contemporary gay and lesbian history: from World War II to the present day. Edited by Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon (2nd ed.). London. 2020. ISBN 978-1-000-10707-4. OCLC 1178937640.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: others (link)