It is with great sadness that we recently learned of the death of Jürgen Schipper aged 78.
Jürgen Schipper was the mastermind behind the introduction of “Painting by Numbers” kits to the German market at the end of the 1960s. His plans were initially viewed with scepticism, but soon became a huge success story thanks to his dedication, creativity and eye for precision. In 2008, his company became part of the Simba Dickie Group, thus securing its continued success. It is with great sadness that we recently learned of the death of Jürgen Schipper aged 78. Jürgen Schipper was a highly esteemed individual and entrepreneur, who devoted his life to “Painting by Numbers”.
As the son of Alwin Schipper – the head of a mirror firm which subsequently became a toy manufacturer, Jürgen Schipper joined his father’s toy firm “Rhön-Plastik-Schipper KG” in Northwest Bavaria at the end of the 1960s. In 1969, he discovered the American painting system from Walt Disney during a trip to the US, when he noticed a copy of the world-famous painting “The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci. He subsequently proceeded to introduce “Painting by Numbers” to the German market and developed the four motifs “Spring, summer, autumn and winter” in the style of naïve art.
In 1985, he founded his firm “J. Schipper Hobby-Ideen” in Nuremberg. His products were stocked by almost all toy stores, department stores and mail-order companies. He became known in particular for his depictions of old advertising signs from “Persil”, “Sarotti chocolate” and “Coca-Cola”.
He arranged his succession at an early stage, with his company Schipper Arts & Crafts becoming part of the Simba Dickie Group in 2008. Jürgen Schipper remained committed to his creative brand well into old age and continued to look for new designs. “Painting by Numbers” kits cover a diverse range of themes, including lifestyle, landscapes, animals, famous painters, and fantasy. During the Covid-19 lockdown, “Painting by Numbers” became a popular hobby, as reflected by the strong demand from customers. To this day, all kits are painstakingly created by talented artists, illustrators and graphic designers to ensure that they retain their original charm.
We express our deepest sympathy for the loss of a formidable and dedicated toy manufacturer who demonstrated an uncompromising commitment to quality. We will honour his memory and continue the work that he started.