Who doesn’t enjoy a good puzzle? It’s a great pastime that can relieve stress, and it doesn’t involve a computer screen. In fact, similar to coloring books, jigsaw puzzles are enjoying somewhat of a resurgence among therapy-hungry adults. Some of the most enjoyable ones are reproductions of artworks, offering a good challenge while allowing you to get more familiar with details you might otherwise miss. Below, we’ve chosen some of the top puzzles that replicate famous art in world-renowned museum collections.
1. Pomegranate William H. Johnson Puzzle
Given the extent to which artworks by dead white men dominate the puzzle market, it’s refreshing to encounter this puzzle, based on a painting by the African American artist William H. Johnson. The 1945 work is a full-length portrait of Harriet Tubman, part of Johnson’s series Fighters for Freedom, which honors African American leaders of the fight for civil rights. It’s now owned by the Smithsonian, but you can buy and frame this 500-piece jigsaw replica, which faithfully reproduces the painting in sturdy, well-cut pieces. Produced by the independent publisher Pomegranate, it offers a pleasurable puzzle experience: there’s enough to keep you challenged, but large areas of clearly defined patterns, colors, and solid shapes offer moments of ease.
2. Galison Sol LeWitt Puzzle
You get two puzzles in one with this clever product from the stationery and puzzle brand Galison, which works with museums to create custom products. The puzzle merges two works from Sol LeWitt’s Distorted Cubes (2001) series, which resides in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Each piece features a section from a monochromatic print on one side and a section from a colorful print on the other. In a nice touch, one side also has a matte finish while the other is glossy. Cut precisely and offering a good assortment of lines and vibrant colors, it’s a satisfying tribute to the conceptual artist’s experiments with the potential of printmaking techniques. As a bonus, this puzzle is made of 90 percent recycled paper and is printed with nontoxic inks.
3. Pomegranate Diego Rivera Puzzle
For a gargantuan challenge, try this high-quality homage to one of the world’s most famous mural paintings. If you’ve had the chance to see Diego Rivera’s grand depiction of Detroit’s industrial history in person at the Detroit Institute of Arts, you’ll know that you can gaze at them for hours and still fail to take in every face, every piece of machinery, and every surreal symbol. This puzzle, which features thick, matte pieces, allows you to get well acquainted with the masterpiece and its remarkable details. Even in its small form, it manages to capture the depth and wonder of the original.
4. Clementoni Starry Night Puzzle
If you prefer to piece together something super-canonical, we recommend this dizzying rendition of Starry Night. Van Gogh’s impressionistic gestures and hypnotic whirls will set you on a mind-boggling hunt, with many pieces in varying shades of blue. The puzzle pieces are made of sturdy anti-reflection paper, and the printing quality is excellent, which is critical since you’ll have to closely examine every piece to differentiate among the similar colors and paint textures. Once you piece it all together, you won’t want to take it apart.
5. Galison Frank Stella Puzzle
For a slightly nontraditional puzzle, we recommend this abstract one, which consists of oddly shaped pieces, all die-cut to fit together effortlessly. Its final form replicates the curves of Frank Stella’s 1970 painting Firuzabad, which is in the Museum of Modern Art’s collection and features interlocking and overlapping circles in eye-popping colors. The limited color palette and bold lines make the sorting process a little easier, but the irregular edges make the task of interlocking them a tricky one.