for immediate release  

The Tom of Finland Foundation — a 501(c)(3), nonprofit, tax-exempt organization — was co-founded in 1984 by Touko Laaksonen, aka erotic artist Tom of Finland (1920-1991), and Durk Dehner. From the moment his work began to receive wide circulation in the '50s, Tomís drawings of ultra-masculine men, often interacting with each other in an explicitly sexual way, were instrumental in changing the way gay men viewed themselves. The original purpose of the Foundation was to preserve Tomís portfolio of work so that future generations would be able to enjoy and be influenced by it.

LINK to information about Tom of Finland.

This purpose was expanded in 1988, when Tom and Durk realized they had a responsibility to protect the legacy of all erotic artists. The AIDS crisis, then at its height, was leading to the loss or destruction of much erotic art by uncaring or vengeful heirs, and no other facility in the world was willing to accept the challenge of accepting and preserving the work.

The Foundation continues to be the only organization of its kind in the world. In addition to its continuing preservation work, it has expanded its mission further through programs to nurture erotic artists around the world, and to increase awareness of the contribution erotic art makes to our culture. Our activities include:


The Foundationís Permanent Collection of thousands of original works by Tom [305 finished drawings and 468 studies] and hundreds of other artists, and the Archives, with well over half a million images, documents and pieces of memorabilia, together comprise the worldís largest repository of erotic art. The Archive Department has met every other Sunday since 1983, with a core of volunteers working several hours on the all-important recording and cataloguing of erotic art from around the world. Erotic artists of all genders and orientations are invited to submit samples of their work.

The Archives are quartered at Foundation Headquarters, a craftsman period Colonial Revival house in Los Angeles, where Tom lived and worked the last ten years of his life. Tomís studio has been preserved as he used it, and the house also serves as a gallery for a revolving display of works from the Permanent Collection. The Archives, as well as tours of the house, are available by appointment to collectors, educators, researchers, curators, students, and the public.


The Foundationís largest events are the West Hollywood -- Los Angeles Erotic Art Fair Weekend, held every year since 1995, and the annual New York Erotic Art Fair Weekend, which began in 2001. Scores of erotic artists from around the world participate in these Fairs, which provide a unique opportunity not only to view and purchase a wide variety of erotic art, but also to meet and socialize with artists and other art-lovers.

LINK to information about our upcoming West Hollywood -- Los Angeles Fair

LINK to information about our New York Fair held earlier this year.


The biweekly email bulletin, the e-news and twice-yearly newsletter, the Dispatch and constantly updated website at, provide news about Foundation events, art and exhibitions, original work for sale, and links to artistsí websites, to Foundation members and art lovers around the world. The Foundationís website has been honored with a number of awards for ďBest WebsiteĒ for an arts organization.

LINK to sign up for out Dispatch e-news.

LINK to on-line versions of our printed Dispatch.

LINK to our erotic art galleries.

LINK to our artist, museum and gallery links.


We have sponsored a contest for emerging artists every other year since 1995. The competition has attracted entries from Asia, Russia, Europe, South and Central America, Canada as well as throughout the United States. The artists have their work judged by an international panel, and the winners receive cash prizes and international publicity. For many, this Contest has provided the kick-start they needed to establish themselves as working artists.

LINK to our Emerging Erotic Artist Contest.


The Foundation conducts a monthly Drawing Workshop, where live models pose for upcoming and established artists. Salon Nights provide informal venues for artists and collectors to meet and exchange information about recent trends in the art world. And symposiums are held annually, in conjunction with the Erotic Art Fair Weekends in Los Angeles and New York, during which various subjects are addressed by panels of experts interacting with the audience.

LINK to our current Drawing Workshop


The Tom of Finland Foundation¹s Marcello Lupetti Artists Fund assists artists with materials, registration fees for classes and exhibitions, and can aid with the documentation of their artwork. Part of the donations received at the Foundation¹s fundraisers are now allocated to the Foundation¹s Artists Fund. Artists are encouraged to donate a piece of their work for sale with the proceeds going to help other artists and anyone may make contributions.

LINK to our news about the Marcello Lupetti Artist Fund.


The Foundation has curated and presented retrospectives of Tom of Finland and other erotic artists at museums in Finland, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, and the United States.  Works by Tom of Finland are presently part of the permanent collections at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, The Portland Museum of Art, and the Kiasma, The Finnish National Museum of Contemporary Art. The Judith Rothschild Foundation acquired five works by Tom of Finland for inclusion in a collection of significant drawings of the 20th Century, which is to be gifted to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

LINK to our announcements page.


Events are held to raise funds, acknowledge donors, and network with the community of artists and collectors. "Tom's Bar" in Los Angeles is the annual commemoration of Tom¹s birthday, and is always a spirited celebration, featuring artists and performers, and providing an occasion to embody Tom's ideal of uninhibited camaraderie. Tom's Cocktail Party and the Commanders Dinner pay special tribute to each year's major donors, while fund-raisers in Palm Springs, New York, and other cities draw a wide spectrum of men and women, and introduce them to the Foundation's work.

LINK to our events page.

LINK to our calendar page.



The Foundation is a membership organization, and provides erotic art lovers an opportunity to support the only cultural organization in the world which focuses on the erotic arts. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law, and provide funds which allow the Foundation to offer its programs and services to both artists and the community at large.

Membership is available on a number of levels: ARTIST ($25 per year); RECRUIT ($50 per year); SEAMAN ($100 per year); COMMANDER ($250 per year); COMMODORE ($500 per year); ADMIRAL ($1,000 per year) and LIFETIME (a one-time contribution of $2,500). All members receive discounts to Foundation events, and Commanders and above are listed prominently (at their option) on a placard which is displayed at Foundation HQ and at major events.

LINK to our membership information page.


The Foundation could not operate without its dedicated volunteers, who not only donate time to the Archives, but also staff all Foundation events. In addition to providing invaluable help to the nonprofit Foundation, volunteers have an unbeatable opportunity to meet and socialize with artists, collectors, and a terrific group of other volunteers. The Foundation hosts several social events for volunteers each year, including a summer BBQ and a Holiday potluck.

We are constantly seeking volunteers, and we invite you to sign up! Even if you donít live in Los Angeles or New York, you can help the Foundation in its mission. Please contact the Foundation for more info.

LINK to our Volunteers Page.

Link to our event page.

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T o m   o f   F i n l a n d   F o u n d a t i o n

20 years of dedication to
protecting, preserving and promoting erotic art


1421 laveta terrace
p.o. box 26658
los angeles, ca 90026
phone 213.250.1685
fax 213.481.2092
press pages: click here

if you would like to adjust the types of materials you receive from the foundation, please click here.