…over time, Jansson came to feel exhausted by the Moomins and that their success had obscured her other ambitions as an artist. In 1978, she satirized her situation in a short story titled “The Cartoonist” about a man called Stein contracted to produce a daily strip, Blubby, which has generated a Moomin-like universe of commercial paraphernalia—“Blubby curtains, Blubby jelly, Blubby clocks and Blubby socks, Blubby shirts and Blubby shorts.” “Tell me something,” another cartoonist asks Stein. “Are you one of those people who are prevented from doing Great Art because they draw comic strips?” Stein denies it, but that was precisely Jansson’s fear.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in Jansson’s work beyond the Moomins. Much of this has focused on her novels for adults, which she began writing in the late 1960s and include short, crystalline works like The Summer Book (1972) and The True Deceiver (1982), which have been reissued in English since her death. Less attention has been paid to her range as a visual artist—something the Dulwich exhibition aims to rectify.