“Le Jeu de Marseille” ~ myth, dreams & imagination...
In the 1940s André Breton and a group of his Surrealist friends (Wifredo Lam, Max Ernst, Jacqueline Lamba, Oscar Dominguez, Victor Brauner, Jacques Hérold, André Masson and Frédéric Delanglade) were stranded in the French port of Marseilles whilst attempting to escape Nazi-occupied Europe and gain passage to America. Having deconstructed traditional, bourgeois playing card symbolism they produced new, liberated designs expressing their own beliefs and values. The court cards were persons representing new, revolutionary ideals. As Breton was a Communist, the conventional court hierarchy denoting military power and rank was unacceptable: these were re-named Genius, Siren and Magus...
Having deconstructed traditional playing card designs, Breton wanted a thorough reinvention along Surrealist principles. The suits were renamed: Locks (black) for knowledge, Wheels (red) for revolution, Stars (black) for dreams and Flames (red) for love and desire. Surrealist ideas inspired many young artists to move away from conventional views of artistic composition towards abstract expressionism.
The “Jeu de Marseille” was eventually produced as a full deck of cards (with the original sketches being reworked slightly) in 1983 and has been reprinted several times. • See also: Salvador Dalí Surrealist Playing Cards →
A limited edition art print of the King of Diamonds 1984 woodblock joker.
A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.
French navigators and explorers on a promotional pack for the C.M.C.R shipping company.
Characters from the 2007 film Shrek the Third, a DreamWorks Animation production.
Advertising pack designed by James Hodges for a company specialising in regional cakes and biscuits....
Joan of Arc and her contemporaries in a colourful pack designed by Patrice Louis.
Psychedelic designs promoting Louis De Poortere, a company selling carpets and rugs.
Typical costumes and views of Alsace together with lists of the principal sights.
Egg-shaped cards created by Rodolfo Krasno employing photographic images by Michel Leclerc.
French Cartomancy cards published by J. Gaudais; printed by Mansion, Paris, c.1830.
Costumes from four operas premiered at the Paris Opera between 1830 and 1840.
Honouring the bicentenary of the Montgolfier brothers’ first balloon flights in 1783.
A colourful pack aimed at children, with illustrations by Muriel Kerba.
Publicity pack for Gibert Jeune, the famous Parisian bookshop, with designs by James Hodges.
Costumes des Peuples Étrangers & Jeu d’Or dedicated to young people and likely used for games and fo...
“Le Nouvel Etteilla” cartomancy deck published in Paris by La Veuve Gueffier, 1806.
This tarot deck captures the idealised Eastern world's magic from the eighteenth and nineteenth cent...
Révolution 1789-1989, celebrating the bicentenary of the French revolution, France, 1989
Cyclists from the Domex-Weinmann team who took part in the 1989 Tour de France.
Newtropolis and the Fantastic Fur: Heroes vs. Villains playing cards illustrated by Peter Wood, 2015...
‘Cartes Catalanes’ published by Fossorier, Amar et Cie (Paris)
Elegant fashion costume deck published by O. Gibert, Paris c.1860.
An educational card game designed by F. Séré and published by Lithographie Musicale de Boboeuf, Par...
The “Parisian Tarot”, early 1600s, with imagery and design synthesizing several influences.
Early French Cartomancy deck "for the amusement of Ladies" but also referred to as "Jeu divinatoire ...
Delightful pack advertising Joseph Bardou & Fils cigarette papers for the Philippines.
Aluette game by Fabrique Dieudonné Jeune, Orléans, for Spanish market, c.1850.
Illustrations by Yannick Pennanguer of old sailing ships for Brest 2004, a maritime festival.
Mountains, flowers, animals, tourist sites of the Pyrenees, all drawn by the artist Pertuzé.
Colourful card game featuring the Marvel Comics superhero Spider-Man and some of his fearsome advers...
Fully pictorial pack featuring rockets, satellites, scientists and views from space.
Playing cards with an educational and instructive purpose first trended in mid-17th century France, ...
A Spanish-suited pack as conceived by 48 different artists from the region of Murcia.