“Tom of Finland: Made in Germany” by Durk Dehner, et al.— A New Perspective

Dehner, Durk, et al. “Tom of Finland: Made in Germany”, Skira, 2020.

A New Perspective

Amos Lassen

“Tom of Finland: Made in Germany”  offers new perspective on Tom of Finland, by. documenting his formative years in 1970s Hamburg.Although Tom of Finland’s iconic portrayals of sensual and powerful cowboys, farm hands, soldiers and leathermen are closely associated with American culture, it was actually in the early 1970s in Hamburg that he became famous. He formed important friendships with various protagonists of the city’s gay culture and his first ever exhibition was in Hamburg. He even created a mural for the legendary Tom’s Bar, which is still the only bar legitimately named after the artist. He also received regular commissions to design posters and ads for gay events in Hamburg and this is what allowed him to quit his day job as advertising executive and jump start his artistic career, which led to the creation of the most extensive private collection of his drawings to date. 

This comprehensive volume looks into these seminal but under-researched years and documents Tom of Finland’s art and friendships from this time. It contains 150 illustrations and well researched texts, a facsimile of the artist’s 1955 travel diary in Germany. 

pseudonym Tom of Finland, is the most famous and influential Finnish artist of the 20th century. His depictions of self-confident and life-affirming sexuality have helped to define gay iconography in the postwar years.

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