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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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Cubism

4 Articles
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Blue Playing Cards

“Blue Playing Cards” by Piatnik, 1960s, inspired by the Cubism art movement in which objects are analysed and reassembled in abstracted form • Jun 06, 2015

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Delta Playing Cards

Delta playing cards are a modern art concept deck invented by Professor M. R. Ali, an artist operating under the company name of “Artology International”. • Dec 18, 2015

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Renée Sturbelle

Artistic playing cards with abstract designs by Renée Sturbelle, first published by Brepols S.A., Turnhout, 1947, possibly reprinted in c.1960. The designs are hand-drawn ink drawings coloured red, blue and black. 52 cards + Joker. • Sep 18, 2012

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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