Sunday, June 23, 2013

Harry Wysocki ... Bridges of San Francisco

Beautiful puzzle, the black kitty was much harder to find this time. Again I worked from the inside out, leaving the edge until last. Picture on the box left off about 1/5 of the puzzle on the right ... in the puzzle itself there are two red cars on the bridge while the box only shows one ... I was very 'puzzled' until I looked on the back of the box and found a much smaller picture that solved the mystery.

Anyway here's the box
Bridges of San Francisco by Heronim Wysocki; published by Mega Puzzles Hometown Collection
Here's the completed puzzle (you can see the second red car to the right that is NOT on the front of the box, nor is the boat under the bridge ...) and below that a close-up to see some of the detail

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tinga Tinga Cranes by Mbwana

My first puzzle by Heye publishers ... stunningly beautiful, and was a lot trickier to put together than I thought it would be. Heye is a German puzzlemaker and publishes some very attractive puzzles. Puzzlewarehouse carries quite a few ...

The box:
The puzzle:

and some closeups ...

Friday, June 7, 2013

Outing at the Light by Heronim Wysocki

Outing at the Light by Heronim Wysocki
I recently purchased three puzzles off of eBay ... part of the Hometown Collection which is carried and sold by Mega Brands Mega Puzzles division ... yeah I know ... so far as I can tell, most of the Hometown Collection puzzles are by Heronim Wysocki, brother of Charles Wysocki. See my previous post for more information and discussion.

My first impression of the puzzle was that it was much more cheaply made than the puzzles I'm used to. Much thinner pieces. Since I bought the puzzle off of eBay, I wasn't certain whether it was used or not. Either the company or the previous owner had very considerately baggied the edge pieces ... so I wasn't sure how to proceed ...

I decided to NOT work the edge first as most people do (myself included), instead I thought that it would be interesting and fun to work from the middle out. And it was ...

The final product without edges ... turns out that edges are really easy if you do it this way. About 10 minutes was all it took to put the edges on.
edge pieces in the baggie
and finally, Heronim's trademark ... the black kitty, not really hidden in this puzzle, so it's no giveaway ...

the lower quality pieces didn't detract from the attractiveness of the picture or the enjoyment of the puzzling process. I'm glad since I have two more of them to work (and also because these puzzles are a bit less expensive than many of the other brands I like).

the Wysocki boys ...

Jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts are very familiar with the art of the Wysocki's. Oddly, Charles Wysocki is the only one of the two that gets a Wikipedia entry ... wherein it states:
Charles M. Wysocki, Jr.(November 16, 1928–July 29, 2002) was an American painter, whose works depict a stylized version of American life of yesteryear. While some of his works show horseless carriages, most depict the horse and buggy era. 
His art has been reproduced on hundreds (if not thousands ... I didn't count) of puzzles, many of which can be seen on Puzzlehistory's page devoted to his puzzles. His themes, as mentioned by Wikipedia, generally include nostalgic Americana, horse and buggy, cats, a sort of squarish symmetrical scene with vivid colors often representing a season ... i.e. a fall scene would have lots of yellow and orange, probably with pumpkins somewhere.

Here's an example; the top is from PuzzleWarehouse, the bottom from Puzzlehistory.

"Pumpkin Hollow", ©1983 AMCAL.
Again, according to Wikipedia and also from the Charles Wysocki gallery site (wherein we find a biography written by his son Matt), Charles drew inspiration from his military service. From Matt Wysocki's brief biography, we also see the ONLY reference I've been able to find of the fact that Charles apparently had a brother named Heronim (Harry?).
Charles was drafted in 1950 during the Korean War.  He should have been sent to Korea where he may have met his fate, but right before he was to be sent out, he was granted a leave of absence to visit his brother Harry who was very ill.
As puzzle workers know ... Harry (or Heronim) Wysocki ALSO painted Americana, cats, and scenes that if one didn't know better, are indistinguishable from the scenes that Charles painted. Harry doesn't get a Wikipedia entry ... even though according to HIS gallery website ... he is very well known American artist.  
His work has been exhibited in the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Museum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles, and the San Francisco de Young Museum. Numbered among his many accolades are nineteen national and local awards from print shows in New York, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Three of his prints are now in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., as well as one painting in the United States Air Force Art Collection. He has had one-man and group shows at the Charles Hecht Gallery in Palm Springs and Tarzana, the Nelson Rockefeller Gallery in Palm Springs, the Ester Wells Gallery in Laguna Beach, the Touche Gallery in Laguna Beach, the I.A.C. Gallery in Los Angeles, the Heritage Gallery in Beverly Hills, the Dyansen Gallery in Beverly Hills, and the Conacher Gallery in San Francisco.
And, similar to Charles, he drew inspiration from his military service ... this time the Marines (or Merchant Marines depending on your source).
Shortly after the end of World War II, Harry enlisted in the Merchant Marines and sailed the high seas to exotic ports, which became subject matter for his early works.

Weird. One almost gets the impression that there may have only been ONE Wysocki painter. Here's an example of a Heronim Wysocki puzzle (with a very similar theme as the one above, and also notice that it's only signed as Wysocki ... at least as far as I can see from the photo):

Many of Heronim Wysocki's puzzles were (and are) published by Hometown Collection Puzzles who (so far as I can find) do not have a website. One of Heronim's trademarks was to place a small black cat hidden (sometimes not so hidden) in his art or puzzle.

Anyhow, I DO like a good mystery ... if anybody has more info or any links about the two brothers, I'd be very interested.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright was born June 8, 1867 and died on April 9, 1959. He is known as the most famous American architect, and one of the most well-known architects in the world. Fallingwater is his most well known work.
Fallingwater; southeastern Pennsylvania ... this would make a great puzzle!
However, the puzzle I worked (described in the previous post) was actually of one of his lesser known works. Wright was also a talented graphic artist with many works that I find stunningly beautiful. The Saguaro Glass design is an example ...
Stained Glass in the Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix AX
LEFT: This colorful 1973 adaptation of Wright’s design is a backlit art glass mural made for the Arizona Biltmore by Taliesin Architects. ©FLW
RIGHT: Frank Lloyd Wright, Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers. Cover design for Liberty, c. 1927–1928. Presentation drawing (detail). Pencil and color pencil on tracing paper. ©FLW Foundation
I could fill a lot more space with images and information ... here's a couple of links

Of course, I couldn't finish without mentioning and showing the postage stamp ...

In 1966, the United States Postal Service honored Wright
with a Prominent Americans series 2¢ postage stamp

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Saguaro Glass Design by Frank Lloyd Wright

This is a stunning puzzle and an absolute hoot to put together! Opening the box, one is overwhelmed with color ... beyond looking for edge pieces it's impossible to know how or where to start. Puzzlewarehouse claims that this is one of their top sellers every month. After completing the puzzle I can see why!

Saguaro Glass Design by Frank Lloyd Wright; published by Pomegranate Puzzles

Here's a closer look at the pieces and the colors ...

Mostly completed ...

The puzzle was a little different in that the end had a bunch of random pieces (instead of all sky or grass or sand or whatever) ... I was certain that there were missing pieces as I looked for the piece below for a long time (you can see the hole on the upper left in the picture above, I thought it should have been pretty easy to spot .. but no), and only found it when there were ~30 pieces left. Naturally I saved it for the honor of being last.

the "last piece"
And here's the finished product. This is a puzzle I would be tempted to hang on the wall ... it's a stunning piece of art!
note to self ... get a better camera, the phone's not getting the job done.