The Museum Centre of Turku, WAM
Director of Fine Arts
tel. +358 50 371 0258
Åbo Akademi Library
Catherine af Hällström
Script and Image Collection Director
tel. +358 2 215 4108
Tom of Finland collections gathered in Turku
Tom of Finland will not be leaving Turku entirely, even though the Capital of Culture year’s successful Tom of Finland exhibition is closing in Logomo on 18 December 2011. The Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art and the Åbo Akademi Library want to gather permanent collections of works by Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen) and material related to the artist in Turku.
The Tom of Finland Foundation, operating in the United States, supports the construction of the collections. As a token of its support, the foundation donated one of the artist’s works to the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art (WAM), acting as the Turku City Art Museum. The donated piece is a 39 x 30 cm untitled face portrait from 1971, pastel on paper. The work was donated to the museum on its own premises on Thursday, 15 December.
The work was handed over by the Tom of Finland Foundation’s president and co-founder Durk Dehner, who was also a close friend to Touko Laaksonen who passed away in 1991. The recipient was represented by Päivi Kiiski, Director of Fine Arts at the Museum Centre of Turku.
“WAM belongs to the Museum Centre of Turku, and in addition to sculpture and art from the Turku region, the focal areas of its collection include changing identities, for example. Tom of Finland meets two of these criteria. On the identity front, we are especially interested in queer research, which makes Tom particularly fitting for our collection,” Päivi Kiiski says with gratitude.
Tom of Finland, a native of Turku’s neighbouring town of Kaarina, conquered the world with his trademark style.
“From an art history point of view, Tom of Finland has inspired popular culture and contemporary art in many ways. A modern art museum is the best place for his artistic legacy,” Kiiski says.
The donation is hoped to provide an opportunity for further donations. In addition to works and sketches, information concerning Touko Laaksosen is also requested for archival in the form of biography documents. These are assembled by the Åbo Akademi Library’s script and images unit, which is hoping to receive photos and letters for its archive collections.
“We believe private individuals still have undiscovered documents related to Tom of Finland, such as diary entries or other similar material improving our overall image of the artist,” says script and image collection director Catherine af Hällström, encouraging people with such material to contact them.