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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

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Draeger

7 Articles
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Banco for Air France, c.1952

Banco playing cards for Air France manufactured by Draeger Frères, c.1952 • Nov 25, 2016

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Cancan

Lightly risqué luxury playing cards published by Éditions Philibert of Paris in 1956. • Sep 01, 2012

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Cassandre for Hermès

Promotional playing cards created by A. M. Cassandre (pseudonym of Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron, 1901-1968) with abstract, almost surrealist figures and ornamentation, but clearly inspired by medieval art and rendered into an Art Deco style. • Apr 06, 2013

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Ciel de France for Miro Company

‘Ciel de France’ published by Miro Company (Paris) featuring designs by Jacques Branger, c.1950 • Nov 26, 2016

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Classique

“Classique” by Draeger Frères, Paris, c.1949 with designs reminiscent of early French cards. • Nov 27, 2016

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Salvador Dalí

Based on the standard French ‘Paris’ pattern, Dalí composed his playing card figures out of geometric shapes, like a surrealist tapestry, but retaining the traditional aspects of playing card design. • Oct 15, 2012

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St Hubert’s Bridge

“St Hubert’s Bridge” published by Éditions Philibert, Paris, c.1956 • May 20, 2016