August is American Artists Appreciation Month. I began to appreciate great art on accident as a child. I grew up like any other 5-7 year old girl who liked to do your normal art activities like coloring, painting, and creating things with play-doh. Once I started school and made friends, I noticed that some of my art creations were a little different than others. For example, when I made mud pies in our back yard, I got to decorate the top with the various flower petals that my mom had growing in her flower gardens. I had the best looking mud pies on the block! You could say that was just my “budding” moment into the art world.
What do I mean by this? When I was a child, my brothers, sister and I, played this game called, “Masterpiece.” Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t actually remember playing the game. You see, I have a lot of older brothers and sisters and while they played this art auction game, I admired the paintings. My older brothers and sisters weren’t interested in my babbling auctioneer skills at that age, so I had to wait until they were done playing the game. Once they were done, I could get my hands on the paintings and do my bidding.
As I grew older, I was more interested in studying the paintings and finding out who the artists were than playing the game. Here is a sample of several paintings in the game that I played.
In my research of the game, I found out that there are actually three editions of the game from Parker Brothers: 1970, 1976, and 1996. The pictures above came from the 1976 one, which contained works of art all found at the Art Institute of Chicago. The game is now out of print, but can be found on Amazon. The price for the game now can be from about $50-$200! I need to check to see if my parents still have it before any of my siblings find out!
In the 1970’s game, there are 24 painting cards that contain paintings on display at the National Gallery of Art in London, England, such as Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Paul Cézanne’s Aix: Paysage Rocheux, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Virgin and Child with St Anne and St John the Baptist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Les Parapluies and Claude-Oscar Monet’s The Beach at Trouville.
In the 1996 game, the painting cards feature different paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago, such as Paul Cézanne’s The Basket of Apples, Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s Violet and Silver – The Deep Sea, Paul Gauguin’s Old Women of Arles and Vincent van Gogh’s The Bedroom.
Have you ever played the game, “Masterpiece?” What do you think of using this game to teach children about art and artists?