Ditha Moser Jugenstil Tarock, 1906, Vienna, Druck:Berger, 54 of 54 cards, color lithography. The cards were printed by Berger and then varnished, cut and collated, and packaged by Josef Glanz. The printing process involved repeating the square grid on both the back and face sides of the cards, then the imagery on the face side was overprinted. The designs by Ditha Moser are characteristic of Jugenstil, the German equivalent of Art Nouveau with its preference for straight lines and simple forms in the shapes of squares, rectangles, circles and parallel lines. The trump cards depict toy wooden soldiers in a variety of events and impressions experienced by the families of Ditha Moser (nee Mautner Markhof) and her professor husband, Kolo Moser. Josef Hoffmann and Kolo Moser were cofounders in 1903 of the Vienna Secession, an association of revolutionary artists and architects calling themselves the Wiener Werkstate which sought to create a fundamental reform in design in a variety of fields from architecture, interior decoration to textiles and book layout. During summer holidays in his Moravian home town of Pirnitz (now Brtnice), Hoffmann often took extensive walks through the woods and isolated villages of the Ore Mountains where he came across the woodcarvers who skillfully produced toy figures. He purchased some of these toys and eventually they found their way into the Mautner Markhof family. Ditha was absorbed in the work of her husband Kolo and in 1905 she decided to design a deck of tarock cards worthy of the seal of the Wiener Werkstate. Besides including the imagery of toy soldiers throughout the deck, Ditha was probably further influenced by the family story surrounding the 1881 Golden Wedding Anniversary of Adolf Ignaz and Marcelline Mautner Markhof who had no fewer than 72 grandchildren. At the anniversary celebration, each of the grandchildren was dressed as a different tarock card and the game was played with living figures. Although there are no titles nor descriptions on the cards, several trumps have been identified and, where identification is lacking, a description of the card provides a story in itself that probably relates to some event in Ditha Moser's life. Some trump cards also include a design that is repeated to match the Roman numeral of the card. The Fool card depicts a jester holding a puppet and a curved sword, Roman numerals I to XXI appear in the background squares, trump I is a night scene with musicians performing near a pond, II is a strolling vendor followed by a donkey with a basket of apples, III is a woman, possibly a servant, grinding coffee, the wall clocks shows the hour at 3:00, IV depicts a soldier guarding a government building. There are four angled, black slashes on either side of his guard house, V a woman holds a baby and black birds rest in a cherry tree, VI an outdoor scene with a hunter and his dog at sunrise, the tree trunks behind him total six in number, VII depicts a golden duck, white swan and red cardinal, seven baby chicks appear in the foreground, VIII in a night scene, a man sits on a goat cart and four dogs stand nearby, IX a military band performs for an unseen audience, in the background is a large edifice with nine center windows, X two performers and a dancing dog perform beneath the night moon, XI a train with four passengers passes a country house, on a distant hill is a castle, XII a monk rings a church bell to call the faithful, XIII a couple dance while a woman plays a harp, XIV a woman strolls in a park while eight birds circle a large birdhouse, XV Noah's ark rests at the edge of a mound while Noah beckons a white dove with a branch in its beak, and a bright red sun is setting, XVI a gardener waters the grounds surrounding the house where Ditha Moser was born, XVII a food vendor cooks a Viennese sausage while preparing to serve the riders in a Ferris wheel, there are eight and one-half trees in the background, XVIII St. Florian, Austrian patron saint of protection against fire, stands guard in front of Raudon, a summer holiday house, and pours sand to put out puffs of smoke rise from the burning house, XIX Ditha Moser's mother holds flowers from the garden of her summer home, XX depicts the Mautner Markof's family brewery, a religious figure with a dog appears in the large bay window, XXI a sail boat with a single sailor passes beneath a midday sun. The court cards depict characteristic costumes of four periods, spades are dressed at the court of early Christendom, clubs are from the era of the Crusades, hearts are clothed in the style and period of Louis XVI, and diamonds are dressed in Egyptian costume. Trumps and courts are double-ended, French suits, no indices, square corners. Although it is believed by some collectors that the Ditha Moser Tarock pack was limited to 100 decks, actual quantities produced were probably greater. Because the numerals on the trumps appear on the upper right corner, the deck was difficult to use in the play of tarock, and the pack was more likely considered an unusual and attractive novelty. Proceeds from the sale of the decks are believed to have been intended to benefit a Viennese orphanage at Christmas time. Backs are a grid pattern in brown. Includes bottom of thumb cut box wrapped in repeating leaf pattern in black against a brown field with vertical reddish streaks, inside of box is printed "LEPAPIER" and "Carbon Paper, Papel Carbon and Papier Carbone." Size 4 9/16 in. (11.6 cm.) high, 2 3/16 in. (5.5 cm.) wide. Slightly worn, a light stain on the back of one card not affecting the face side.