Happy Tom of Finland Day! We celebrate the artist’s legacy

25th May 2023, 5:39 pm


With new events celebrating Tom of Finland’s homoerotic art, and foundation president Durk Dehner awarded the Order of the Lion of Finland, we applaud a cultural icon and those preserving his legacy


A 2015 project by Henzel Studio saw a series of Tom of Finland sketches turned into rugs, underlining their modernity and relevance (Image credit: Courtesy Tom of Finland Foundation / Henzel Studio)


On Tom of Finland Day – what would have been Tom of Finland’s 103rd birthday (8th May 2023) – we’re taking the opportunity to reflect on the iconoclastic artist’s creative and mission-driven legacy, whose significance has continued to deepen, especially in light of the current political and social climes.

Born in Kaarina, Finland (1920-1991), Tom of Finland’s homoerotic artworks, often characterised by muscly men, clad in skin-tight leather and proudly showing off their bulges (both large and XXL) need no introduction. The prominence of his titillating oeuvre in popular culture today is largely down to the work of Tom of Finland Foundation, which was founded in 1984 by the artist and his friend Duke Dehner, who still presides over it today.

In addition to securing and preserving the legitimacy of Tom’s work in the art world for almost four decades, the Foundation now also preserves complementary erotic art from other artists of all genders and orientations as part of its growing permanent collection (we looked in on its 2022 group show AllTogether in Venice).




Published: 25th May 2023

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