for immediate release  



(Finnish, 1920 – 1991)
Untitled (Preliminary study),
c. 1962
Graphite on paper,
8.25” x 5.81”
ToFF Permanent Collection #0083
© 2011 Tom of Finland Foundation


January 14, 2011 – December 18, 2011

Iconic artist, Tom of Finland, is coming home to Turku, Finland as part of the 2011 European Capital of Culture celebrations. The show is being presented by: The nonprofit Educational Archive, Tom of Finland Foundation (ToFF), Los Angeles, USA; Queer arts festival Homotopia, Liverpool, England; and the Turku 2011 Foundation.

The Tom of Finland Retrospective was a key highlight of Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture in 2008 and attracted record audiences.

This exhibition is a major retrospective of works on paper by the legendary Gay artist. Seventy rare drawings and paintings from 1928 through 1990 will be on display from the ToFF’s Permanent Collection.

Tom of Finland was born Touko Laaksonen in 1920 in the village of Kaarina, Finland. At the age of nineteen, he moved to Helsinki to attend art school and — for his own personal enjoyment — created his first homoerotic drawings.

Following his release from the army after World War II, Touko began to work in advertising. He continued to draw his fantasies and, urged by close friends, submitted them to the American magazine Physique Pictorial. Because of the conservative social climate in 1957, he — with the publisher’s help — chose to be published under the pseudonym, "Tom of Finland”.

First seen in commercial settings such as magazine illustration, posters and advertising, his work had a defining impact on the way Gay men were perceived and more importantly, how they perceived themselves. Tom had a profound influence on Gay culture because he was the first to connect words everyone assumed were oxymorons: “Masculinity” and “homosexuality”.

In a world that insisted Gay men were sissies, Tom did the unthinkable, portraying them as confident, macho and assertive. Tom’s oeuvre has, therefore, had a ripple effect throughout Gay and straight culture during the last 40 years, influencing lifestyle, political tolerance, design, fashion and art to popular culture.

Durk Dehner, president and cofounder of ToFF, has said:

Tom’s artwork provided generation after generation healthy and happy imagery with which they could identify — something that western culture had been unwilling to supply and, in fact, did its utmost to curtail.

The world abounds with a love for this hero and his art, stretching across all boundaries. His return to Turku offers a new opportunity to experience his genius, to be enthralled in his mastery, and to absorb the Beauty in his depictions of the male species.

The original purpose of ToFF was to preserve Tom of Finland’s work for future generations; within a few years the mission was broadened to include all erotic art. The Foundation is headquartered at TOM House in Los Angeles. It is a museum with exhibition space and Tom’s studio, an archive and a library, all which comprise the world’s largest repository of erotic art.

For accredited members of the press there is a Tom of Finland exhibition party at Logomo on Friday, January 14, 2011, 6 PM to 9 PM. Exhibition creators and invited guests will be present at the event.

We invite those with a website presence to link to our public information page for this exhibition here.

For further information, email:
Phone: 213.250.1685

January 10, 2011

T O M   O F  F I N L A N D   F O U N D A T I O N

Over A Quarter Century Dedicated 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.