TOM OF FINLAND (1920–1991)
The name is familiar to nearly all. Few know, however, that the man behind it was Touko Laaksonen, son of schoolteacher parents. Having discovered his Homosexuality at an early age, Touko was only able to live it out when he came of age at the time of the Second World War.
Touko kept his artwork mainly secret up until an American ”body building” magazine started publishing them. Despite having created the self-assured and muscular archetype of the Homosexual in his imagery, his most important messages were tolerance and that sex is something to be celebrated.
Tom of Finland’s works have been exhibited in Europe, USA and Australia, and include the cities of Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Chicago, Copenhagen, Helsinki, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Miami, Oslo, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Stockholm, Toronto and Venice. His artwork is part of permanent collections of leading cultural institutions that include The Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma (Helsinki), The Art Institute of Chicago, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
FINLAYSON & CO
Established exactly one hundred years before Touko Laaksonen’s birth, Finlayson is one of Finland’s oldest companies. Its textile factory was the first structure in the Nordic countries to have electric lights. At its peak, Finlayson employed more than half of the entire population in the city of Tampere with its own daycare service, school, chemists and church.