Have you ever wondered why so many jigsaw puzzles feature works by artists? In today’s puzzle world you can get puzzles by historic legends, through to the modern, pop culture and fine artists of our time. Let’s take a look at the synergies between art and jigsaws throughout history.
In the beginning puzzles were created for educational purposes and were mostly themed around geography as their creator was a cartologist a map maker to the royal family. They evolved to cover plants, animals, history, alphabets and biblical scenes. The were call dissection puzzles.
With the invention of the jigsaw puzzle construction moved into a new phase where pictures were painted onto wood and then cut using a jigsaw, hence the name jigsaw puzzles. So even from an early stage, artist have played a role in the creation of jigsaw puzzles.
Over time the joy of puzzles grew and in the 19th century some puzzles moved to cardboard and became popular as a hobby or pastime. During this time most puzzles were made individually and were likely, quite expensive to purchase. They often featured nursey rhymes, everyday situations, comics and landscapes.
When puzzles became mass produced, the pictures on puzzles became more diverse and in keeping with the educational origins it wasn’t long before art themed jigsaws became popular. An historic range of paintings were used for teaching art students about different styles and famous works.
If we review the jigsaw puzzles from the puzzle museum we can see that artistic picture jigsaw puzzles spang to live as early as the 1930’s. It is also noted that calendars were collected and the pictures used to make puzzles, an early example of the recycle economy.
Monet’s impressionism style art features widely in the puzzle world, along with surrealist painter Salvador Dali brightly coloured works, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Renaissance style and Andy Warhol pop art works all are puzzle favourites.
Today Aboriginal art is beautiful and features a range of beautiful earthy tones and classic Australian animals are popular for puzzles in Australia. Notably Stephen Hogarth has a magical range of puzzles as do Mick Ando, Michael Connolly and Alana Nakamarra Gibson.
Other Australian artists such as Ken Dome brightly coloured works make for beautiful puzzles, Max Mannix and we even have a special collection by Blue Opal featuring art works by many of current Australian artists such as John Bradley, Jenny Sanders, Gordon Hanley, Esther Shohet and Garry Fleming just to name a few.
So, the next time you complete a jigsaw puzzle take a moment to appreciate the artist and artwork behind your puzzles design.