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Published July 14, 2023 Updated July 14, 2023

ORIENT The Queen of Cards

A unique Art creation of Subho Tagore

1945 India Bharat Phototype Studio Subho Tagore Art & Design Cubism Add to Collection

An amazing pack of playing cards created by Subho Tagore (1912-1985). Subhogendranath (Subho) Tagore was an important Indian artist who studied in Calcutta and London. He taught at an art school in Kashmir, but inspired to be a painter he moved back to Calcutta where he went on to become a director of many of the films by filmmaker Satyajit Ray. In 1943 he became part of the Calcutta group, a group of modernist Indian artists intending to create a synthesis between art produced in the West and traditional Indian art. He was the first Indian artist to exhibit work in Europe, Russia and the USA.

In 1945, Art and Letters of Calcutta published a book titled, “The Art of Subho Tagore”, giving an inventory of his work at this time. The book contains sample cards from the pack show allowing us to date them quite accurately. The book was printed in a limited edition and these playing cards are quite rare in themselves. Subho is often referred to as the father of Indian cubism, something which is strongly reflected in the courts of this pack of cards which depict traditional Indian figures in a cubist style.


The pack consists of 52 cards and 2 jokers in a box stating that they were 'Engraved & printed by Bahat Phototype Studio, Calcutta'.

Below: the box, back design and jokers from the pack


References:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcutta_Group
- https://www.getbengal.com/details/subho-thakur-the-rebel-of-jorasanko-who-created-pansy-and-piko
and various other internet sources.

All cards shown are from the collection of Paul Symons ©

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By Paul Symons

Member since February 01, 2016

I'm British but I have now lived in the Netherlands for more than 50 years and am still enjoying every minute of it. I started collecting playing cards in the early 1980’s after speaking with my neighbour who was at that time a croupier in a casino. I started with just collecting jokers, but that soon led me to complete packs of cards and eventually to specialising in old and antique playing cards, particularly those of C.L. Wüst of Frankfurt, Germany. I am presently the Dutch representative of the I.P.C.S. and the auctioneer at the IPCS conventions.


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