Archive for category Educa

Once upon a time, not very long ago, Educa used to publish excellent fine art puzzles in different sizes. An example is this beautiful The Battle of Austerlitz, by François Gerard. Just 20 years ago, this Spanish manufacturer was producing art puzzles regularly, giving priority to classical masterpieces. Just between 1995 and 2005, the catalog is impressive. Most collectors are familiar with those puzzles in the elegant white box.

Has the average puzzle fan changed?

What has happened in the last 20 years? Is the puzzle enthusiast different now? Has the taste of the public changed? Why Educa and some other major brands are not including fine art in their catalogs anymore, or very rarely? I know there is a demand for them, which is the reason why Rare Puzzles has visitors. However, it is sad to think that we are a minority now. I’m sure puzzle brands have made their research. They probably know that puzzles by modern artists sell better than classical pieces like this extraordinary The Battle of Austerlitz. Still, a lot people are looking for those puzzles, so there must be some other reason. Licensing costs perhaps? Copyright?

My experience with The Battle of Austerlitz

If I recall well, this was the 4th large puzzle that I assembled. According to my records, I completed this puzzle between August 22 and September 12, 2009. In those times, I was relatively new to puzzles. I was discovering new puzzles every week, and I wanted to assembled them all. My passion seemed fresh. In any case, I had a lot of fun with this one and it was one of my most enjoyable puzzles.

I was still living in Los Angeles and I completed the puzzle on the floor. I assembled the puzzles on the floor back in LA, using one of those green mats on the carpet. However, I never used the mat to “store” the puzzle rolling it, since I never spent too long with them. Like many of us, my OCD led me to work on the puzzle many hours a day until I finished.

In those times, I brought to Spain in my summer trips the puzzles assembled in layers. The purpose was to frame them eventually. I didn’t keep the boxes then, which seems like a sacrilege now. So, I stored the puzzle until someone told me recently he wanted it assembled without the box.

A wonderful puzzle. I wish Educa produced more of these again.

4000, Educa, The Battle of Austerlitz, François Gérard, 136 x 96 cm, Reference number 7.474.

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Spanish brand Educa has a very nice collection of 1500 pieces jigsaw puzzles under the label of Museum Series. This version of Leda Atomica by the Spanish artist Salvador Dalí is just one of the many puzzles in the series. In order to get the attention of the prospective buyer, they call it A Collector’s Item, and produce it in an elegant black box. Inside the box, you can find a golden tag with the title and the author. Later you can place that label on your puzzle and it will look like a painting in a museum.

I am not particularly fond of Dalí, so I don’t recall the reason why I bought this puzzle. Perhaps I thought I should expand my collection to puzzles out of my comfort zone. Or perhaps the price was very good and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. The colors of the box had faded out slightly due to the sunlight. When that happens, or there is any other damage to the box, very often store owners lower the price.

Image of the puzzle 1500, Educa, Leda Atomica, by Salvador Dalí, Blog Post

Leda and the Swan

The title of this painting is Leda Atomica. It is Dalí’s version of the mythological topic of Leda and the Swan. Such topic has been revisited by many artists, including painters, sculptors, and poets. In the story, the god Zeus, in the form of a swan, seduces the mortal woman Leda.

Dalí completed Leda Atomica in 1949 and you can admire the original painting at the Dalí Theatre and Museum, in Figueras, Spain, Dalí’s birthplace. In his painting, Leda is a portrait of Gala, Dalí’s wife, who was his muse and appeared in many of his works.

When I assembled the puzzle, I never considered selling it. However, I later listed it in our online store. Although Educa published this puzzle in 1996, they produced another 1000 pieces version in 2003. In fact, Educa has produced many puzzles with paintings by Salvador Dalí

1500, Educa, Leda Atomica, Salvador Dalí, 85 x 60 cm, Reference number 7.713.

Image of the puzzle 1500, Educa, Leda Atomica, by Salvador Dalí, Picture of the box, Blog Post

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Joaquín Sorolla was a Spanish artist that knew how to capture the bright sunlight of Valencia, his native land, as we can see in this Walk on the Beach, or Paseo a Orillas del Mar, which you can admire at the Sorolla Museum, in Madrid. This is one of his most famous paintings.

Image of the puzzle 1500, Educa, Walk on the Beach, by Joaquín Sorolla, Picture of the puzzle assembled

Two copies of 1500, Educa, Walk on the Beach

I had two copies of this puzzle and both were incomplete. However, I was hoping that perhaps both versions were compatible, so that I could get a complete copy and leave the other one for replacements. Unfortunately, they were not compatible, but I decided to assemble both copies anyway. I have completed two copies of the same puzzle more than once before, and the second time is usually very easy because you can put it together over a puzzle already finished, so it was not such a big deal. Besides, except for all the pieces of the sand, the rest was quite feasible.

Very different copies

When I wrote about the possibility of replacing pieces from an incomplete copy, I mentioned some of the challenges. In these two copies, I found them all. In fact, except for the image itself, the puzzles were so different that they could have been from different brands. The cut was not the same, so the pieces were not compatible, and the shades of color were also slightly different.

However, the most significant difference was the fit of the pieces in both copies.In the first copy, the fit was so tight that I had to press them to put them in the right place. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember any Educa puzzle with such a tight fit. In the second copy, however, the fit was quite loose, if we compare with other Educa puzzles. I could pick up in the air the first copy as if it was glued, but not the second. The picture in this post corresponds to the second copy.

Other puzzles by Joaquín Sorolla

There are not many puzzles with paintings by Joaquín Sorolla and for that reason they are now difficult to find. Educa published this version of Walk on the Beach in 1991, but it was not the first puzzle available with a painting by Sorolla, since the company Diset produced a 2000 pieces version of Women at the Beach in 1990. I completed this Diset version some years ago and it was an excellent puzzle with very good quality. Years later Diset produced the same puzzle again, although in a different box. In 1996 Educa published the 1500 pieces version of Beach of Valencia by Morning Light in their elegant white box. They reedited it in 2005 in a black box.

Both copies of Walk on the Beach will be added now to the Missing Pieces section.

1500, Educa, Walk on the Beach, Joaquín Sorolla, 85 x 60 cm, Reference number 7.719.

Image of the puzzle 1500, Educa, Walk on the Beach, Picture of the box

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