Tom of Finland, ‘Untitled’, 1961, David Kordansky Gallery

About Tom of Finland

When looking at Tom of Finland’s meticulously rendered portraits of muscular men, it may not come as a surprise that he grew up in the countryside surrounded by tough frontiersmen. Though his schoolteacher parents raised him in a world of art, literature, and music, Tom never lost his fascination with the burly masculinity of working-class men, which expanded to include sailors, policemen, and military officers when he left his small town to study art in Helsinki in 1939. In World War II, Tom was drafted into the army and reveled in the attendant uniforms and leather boots. He applied his love of machismo with his natural artistic talent to create homoerotic drawings that celebrate the idealized male form.

Finnish, 1920-1991, Kaarina, Finland, based in Helsinki, Finland