In the art world, artists must often come to terms with the changing market, and creating work can become serious business. But there is an intrinsically playful element of the creative process, which celebrates limitless imagination and childlike exploration. It seems fitting, then, that many well-known artists were known to create toys for children. While some of these artists pursued toy-making alongside developments in their broader art practices, others found that the two modes of creation were indistinguishable.
Particularly during the first half of the 20th century, as artists grappled with enormous political and social changes, some aimed to mold young minds through educational toys that were mass-produced for children everywhere. Other toys created during this era were intended purely for fun, made by artists for their own children or grandchildren, while they also reflect revolutionary strides in modern art.
The following seven toys, conceived by artists from
, take various forms and functions, whether that be dynamic blocks or therapeutic stuffed animals. Yet they all showcase their makers’ inventiveness and overarching interests—and invite us to embrace our inner child.