Leonor Fini was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and raised in Trieste, Italy. As a girl she'd been expelled from three schools for her wayward behaviour, but she loved to paint and draw and persuaded her mother to let her study art. She started her studies in Milan, but knew that Paris was the place to be. In Paris she became a sensation as both an artist and a personality and was admired for her paintings, illustrations, theatre designs and, above all, her flamboyant bohemian lifestyle. The imagery of her paintings was loosely based on dreams and this led her to be associated with the Surrealists, although she preferred to remain independent of any conventions. The originality of her work is evident in these playing card designs.
Leonor Fini was equally adept at etching, drawing, watercolor and oil painting. Many of her paintings feature strong, beautiful women (often resembling herself) in ceremonial or provocative situations.
The original pack does date from 1949 or 1950 but, confusingly, the cards illustrated above are from a later reprint. As you will see from my scans of some of the original cards (below), they were printed on off-white, almost cream card rather than white. The colours were more subtle and nuanced (11 colours were used, I believe) than in the reprint (which was my reason for never buying the reprint!). The original back design was not the one you show (please see below). As far as I know, both single and double packs were issued originally, both using a sideways telescopic box. Barney has an original pack in a different box which may have been a more upmarket version or possibly one that was specially made to house the pack.
I believe the original pack had 52 cards, 1 Joker and 1 blank card. The cards are gilt-edged. The size is 63 x 89 mm. See the box► - R.S
A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.
Geometric designs by the French artist Jean Garçon for Knoll International, the furniture company.
Modern designs by Italian artist Marcello Morandini using the simplest of forms and colours.
Free reinterpretation of the traditional Paris pattern courts by the artist Claude Weisbuch.
This tarot deck captures the idealised Eastern world's magic from the eighteenth and nineteenth cent...
Newtropolis and the Fantastic Fur: Heroes vs. Villains playing cards illustrated by Peter Wood, 2015...
A Spanish-suited pack as conceived by 48 different artists from the region of Murcia.
Bold designs by Jacques Auriac representing people and enterprises for which the town of Issy-les-Mo...
Detailed pen and ink drawings of the major arcana by the German artist Helmut Wonschick.
Original designs by French artist Jean Vérame, with clubs replaced by four-leaf clovers to bring goo...
Secrets of the Far East playing cards featuring the designs of Violeta Monreal , Spain, c. 1991.
Ases de la pintura / Masters of painting playing cards made by Naipes Comas, Spain, c.1990.
Colourful figures associated with the annual festival held in Vilafranca, Catalonia.
Dada and Surrealist Art playing cards featuring artwork by Arturo Schwarz, 1998.
Colourful and attractive designs by Violeta Monreal, inspired by stained glass through the ages.
Three different packs of cards featuring traditional Chinese face painting and Chinese opera masks.
Playing cards in Russian life - Karty v zhizni Rossii - published by Aleksandr Lutkovskii in 2004.
Tarot game pack with fantasy sci-fi artwork on the trumps published by Pocket SF, France.
This deck is named after Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu (1585-1642),...
Alice with artwork by Jesús Blasco, published by Lo Scarabeo, 2003.
Sherlock Holmes deck with caricatures by Jeff Decker published by Gemaco Playing Card Co. 1989.
Martin Mystère based on the comic book by Alfredo Castelli. The cards were designed by Giancarlo Ale...
Maritime deck designed by Klaus Ensikat for Deutsche Seereederei Rostock, GDR.