Wonderful deck with an international pedigree, made by Carta Mundi for Promo-Quebec, a Canadian marketing organization, and published by Friedland of Paris. It features the extremely charming designs of Canadian artist, Normand Hudon aka Rémy. I am uncertain of the date of the deck. The seller to me – an extremely knowledgeable collector – suggested the deck may date to the 1970’s, but showed the date with a question mark in parentheses. The World Web Playing Card Museum dates the deck c.1985, while I have seen decks of these cards for sale dated 1960. Frankly, I think that these cards are more likely to date to the “cartoonist” period of Hudon’s career, and so have dated them to the 1960’s.
In 2014, a book was published celebrating Hudon’s work, and in the general publicity that attended that launch, the following biographical information can be found:
“A major exhibition and sale of 40 years of Normand Hudon’s artistic achievements plus a new book, Normand Hudon, artist or magician, will be launched this Sunday at Le Balcon d’art in St. Lambert.
“Born in Montreal in 1929, a man of multiple talents, Hudon’s ability as a caricaturist surfaced early. He sold his first pieces to La Presse when he was 16 years old. Two years later, he enrolled in the École des beaux-arts de Montréal. During this three-year period he published his first caricatures in La Patrie and the Petit Journal. At this same time, he also began to show his artwork in Montreal.”
“In 1951, Hudon travelled in Europe where he attended the Académie Montmartre in Paris, and studied the grand masters at the Louvre. Returning to Quebec in 1952, Hudon again started working as caricaturist and illustrator for several newspapers. In a new departure, he took to the stage in a cabaret show, which combined humour and drawing and that same year he made his television debut when the medium first appeared in this province.
“He continued as an illustrator for the books of many Québécois authors and produced a number of posters, all the while still displaying his paintings in Montreal galleries. In 1954, he published the first of four collections of his caricatures. Then, in 1958, he became the caricaturist for Le Devoir, where he gained recognition for his scathing political cartoons of Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis, whom he always showed accompanied by a vulture. He moved to a similar position at La Presse in 1961 and remained there until 1963.
“Hudon loved to poke at public figures. He took pot shots at Charles de Gaulle, Jean Drapeau, Jean Chrétien and Richard Nixon. Had he still been alive I can imagine all the biting jibes he would have directed towards members of the Parti Québécois.
“In 1965 Hudon designed a cover for Time magazine and that year also prepared four ceiling panels for the Energy Pavilion at Expo 67. From that year forward he concentrated only on his art.
“Hudon, who once met Picasso, was influenced by Pablo’s imagery of fish, which led him to develop his own fish fetish, incorporating them into his works a number of times. A most popular subject of Hudon’s art are priests and lawyers who he scrutinized with his dry, whimsical humour. Children in spontaneous merriment often appear in his works.
“Hudon died in 1997 and since his death, demand for his paintings has seen them quadruple in value.”
The deck has 52 suited cards, plus a Joker (designated as such), a “La Blanche” card that could be used as an Extra Joker, plus a card signed by Hudon introducing the deck. The cards are bridge size, measuring 88mm x 58mm, and come in the original box.
The cards are in excellent condition, “as new” or very nearly so. The box is in very good, perhaps excellent, condition, very clean but with shelf wear, especially at the edges and corners.
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