The Etteilla Foundation is dedicated to increasing public understanding and appreciation of playing cards’ art and cultural significance. To achieve this goal, we are happy to lend our decks, books, and other materials free of charge to museums, art galleries, and other cultural institutions that wish to create exhibitions featuring artifacts from our collection.
If you are planning an exhibition and would like to utilize elements from our collection, please reach out to us via our contact form to get started.
There are many ways to create amazing exhibitions about playing cards, given their cultural and spiritual significance, and we would be happy to help you explore themes that align with your exhibition goals and figure out how they can benefit from the strengths of our collection.
Here are a few ideas of potential exhibition themes to get you started:
- Tarot and Divination: Due to its French heritage the Foundation possesses a comprehensive collection of the original tarot decks that have been used for divination over the course of history, including those by Etteilla, Papus, Waite, and Crowley. Our collection also includes a range of original texts on the subject, such as those by Court de Gebelin, Etteilla, and Mlle LeNormand.
- The evolution of playing cards design: Cards have a long and varied history, with many different designs and symbolism used throughout the ages due to cultural shifts. The evolution of the Tarot major arcana suit and Oracles cards follow closely the evolution of occult societies, and spirituality. Standard deck figures capture well art sensibilities and some historical events. In particular, If you envision doing a small scale exhibition then focusing on single card evolution such as the queen heart will work very well for that purpose.
- Transformation decks: Transformed cards, which have artists incorporate the pips of the non-face cards into an artistic design, are perhaps the most original and lesser known form of playing cards art. From political messaging, to satire, to contemporary visuals, those packs always surprise and delight.
We are looking forward to working with you on your next exhibition.