Thomas Kinkade is America's most collected living artist. Coming from a modest
background, Kinkade emphasizes simple pleasures and inspirational messages through
his paintings. As a devout Christian, Kinkade uses his gift as a vehicle to communicate
and spread inherent life-affirming values.
It was while growing up in the small town of Placerville, California that these
important values were nurtured. It was also during this time that Kinkade began
to explore the world around him. He spent a summer on a sketching tour with
a college friend, producing the best-selling instructional book, The Artist's
Guide to Sketching. The success of the book landed the two young artists at
Ralph Bakshi Studios to create background art for the animated feature film
Fire and Ice. It was also during this time that Kinkade began to explore light
and imaginative worlds with abandon.
After the film, Kinkade earned his living as a painter, selling his originals
in galleries throughout California. In 1982, he married his childhood sweetheart,
Nanette, and two years later they began to publish his art.
Ravensburger HistoryRavensburger Spieleverlag GmbH is a German game company and market leader in the European jigsaw puzzle market.
The company was founded by Otto Robert Maier with seat in Ravensburg, a town in Upper Swabia in southern Germany. He began publishing in 1883 with his first author contract. He started publishing instruction folders for craftsmen and architects, which soon acquired him a solid financial basis. His first board game appeared in 1884, named "Journey around the world".
At the turn of the 20th century, his product line broadened to include picture books, books, children’s activity books, Art Instruction manuals, non-fiction books, and reference books as well as children’s games, Happy Families and activity kits. In 1900, the Ravensburger blue triangle trademark was registered with the Imperial Patent office. As of 1912, many board and activity games had an export version that was distributed to Western Europe, the countries of the Danube Monarchy as well as Russia.
Before the First World War, Ravensburger had around 800 products. The publishing house was damaged during the Second World War and continued to produce games in the years of the reconstruction. The company focused on children's games and books and specialized books for art, architecture and hobbies, and from 1962 grew strongly. The company started to produce jigsaw puzzle games in 1964, and in the same year opened subsidiaries in Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In 1977 the company split into a book publishing arm and a game publishing arm.
Today there are approximately 1,800 available books and 850 games as well as puzzles, hobby products and CD-ROM titles at Ravensburger and its subsidiaries, which include Alea for "hobby and ardent game players" and FX Schmid for games and children's books. Ravensburger products are exported to more than fifty countries.
In September 2010, Ravensburger broke Educa's record for the world's largest jigsaw puzzle of 24,000 pieces. Ravensburger's new puzzle design by late pop artist Keith Haring titled, 'Keith Haring: Double Retrospect' breaks the Guinness Book of World Records measuring 17' × 6' built from 32,256 pieces and comes with its own dolly cart for toting.