In Pieces: The Art of Vintage Puzzles

February 14 through April 21, 2019

Michael and Kay Olthoff/Thelma and Paul Wiener Gallery

Jigsaw puzzles are an international pastime tailored to a myriad range of interests and skill levels. The premise of the jigsaw puzzle is simple: an image, applied to a rigid surface such as cardboard or wood, is cut into interlocking pieces that, when reassembled, display the original picture. Puzzles have evolved through changes in technology and to match the interests of each new generation. As a result, physical jigsaw puzzles and online versions are available for today’s users. In Pieces: The of Vintage Puzzles looks back to the late 19th and early 20th century heyday of the puzzle, when manufacturers across Europe and the United States brought their products to market – as toys for children and adults, teaching aides, advertisements, and promotional gimmicks.

This collection of vintage puzzles comes to us through the estate of André Aerne, a passionate collector not only of puzzles, but also stamps, ceramics, and art. The Muskegon Museum of Art hosted an exhibition of Aerne’s Clarice Cliff ceramics in 2010, and is pleased to present his puzzles to the public for the first time. This collection presents an intriguing look into the past and an opportunity to see history through the visual objects that informed peoples’ everyday experience and understanding of their contemporary world.

LEARN MORE: History of Jigsaw Puzzles, Wikipedia

View more examples of puzzles in the exhibition


Puzzles featuring artworks from the MMA collection are now available for purchase in the MMA Store.

Underwritten by Nichols, Frank and Susan Bednarek in honor of André Aerne, and The Thelma & Paul Wiener Fund for the Arts of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County

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