Pippi Longstocking at 75

September 19. – November 15. 2020

Did you know that Pippi is 75 years old? It is hard to believe, as the strongest girl in the world is still a unique and timeless figure. Pippi has been an important inspiration for boys and girls for the last 75 years: she has been an idol for many and is often praised to the skies by men and women who grew up with her as the role model proving that people may be whatever they dream of.

But what about her ‘birth’? Pippi has various birthdays and at least three mothers. The Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002) won publishers Rabén and Sjögren’s award for new children’s books on August 1, 1945. On November 26, the first Pippi book was on the shelves for the Swedish Christmas trade. It was an immediate success. Both the stories and the illustrations marked a completely new style in relation to the previous long-standing tradition of Swedish Else Beskow (1874-1953).

This brings us to Pippi’s three mothers. The stories tell us that Pippi’s biological mother is in heaven. The second mother was the author who wrote the stories about her escapades. The third mother was Danish artist Ingrid Vang Nyman (1916 – 1959), who drew the iconic pictures of this very unusual Pippi figure. The artist’s family on both sides were from Vejen. And actually she was quite a Pippi type herself with a wealth of red hair, freckles, and tomboyish behavior, which are all reminiscent of Pippi. As a young teenager, she ran away from home and got all the way from Odense to the Danish-German border, where she said she was on her way to Hamborg to sign on a ship!

The Vejen Art Museum put on the first ever Ingrid Vang Nyman exhibition in the year 2000, together with her son, Peder Nyman, an illustrator on the national newspaper Politiken. This exhibition was shown in Stockholm and Vimmerby. Subsequently, the family donated the whole of her artistic oeuvre to the Vejen Art Museum. This resulted in the museum presenting a centennial exhibition in 2016, a comprehensive book about her work, and the creation of the Ingrid Vang-Nyman Experience. This is a landscape created around her work, and which many children are looking forward to us reopening when the present renovation of our buildings and the extensive new building project at the museum is completed and the southern wing can be opened in late summer / autumn 2021.

To celebrate Pippi’s 75th birthday, the museum is presently showing selected works from its Ingrid Vang-Nyman collection from Saturday September 19 to Sunday November 15 2020.