Robert M. Place

Robert M. Place (born 1947) is an American artist and author known for his work on tarot history, symbolism, and divination.

Robert M. Place
Robert M. Place, May 2005
Robert M. Place, May 2005
Occupationillustrator, author, artist, jeweler, Tarot lecturer
SpouseRose Ann Place

Work as an artistEdit

Place has worked since the 1970s as a sculptor, jeweler and illustrator.[1] His sculpture has been exhibited on the White House Christmas tree, in the New York State Museum,[2][3] the Delaware Art Museum, and the Irish American Heritage Museum. Place’s jewelry has been exhibited in the American Craft Museum,[4] the Philadelphia Museum of Art,[5] the Montclair Art Museum, the Summit Art Center,[6] the International Wilhelm Muller Competition (which toured museums in Germany),[7][8] the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, and in numerous galleries in the United States, Ireland, Britain, and Japan. He was awarded a 1984-85 New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship [9] and the Niche Magazine award for outstanding achievement in metal sculpture in 1990[10] and 1991.[11]

Work as tarot designer and authorEdit

In the 1990s, Place turned his attention as an illustrator to the creation of tarot decks and began his career as an author. Place is best known as the creator of The Alchemical Tarot, his first deck and book combination, which is illustrated in the style of 17th century alchemical engravings and which presents a parallel between the “great work” of alchemy, which leads to the creation of the philosopher’s stone and the allegory in the tarot’s trumps.[12][13]

In his other decks, The Angels Tarot, The Tarot of the Saints, and The Buddha Tarot, Place has explored the connection between religion, mysticism, and the tarot’s symbolism.[14]

In his fifth book, The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination, his first book published not in connection with a tarot deck, Place contributed to the field of tarot history by discussing the images in the tarot in relation to the iconography of the 15th century Italian Renaissance, the era when the tarot was created. Place relates each image in the tarot to similar images created at that time and presents a theory of interpretation that is rooted in the art and philosophy of the time. The book also discusses contrasting occult theories and champions Pamela Colman Smith as the primary designer of the Waite-Smith Tarot.[15][16]

The Tarotpedia has said that The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination “is bound to find a place amongst the most important works published this decade.”[This quote needs a citation]

"Booklist", the publication of the American Library Association, has said that The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination “may be the best book ever written on that deck of cards decorated with mysterious images called the tarot.”[17]

Robert Place has been a frequent lecturer on and teacher of Western mysticism and the history and use of the tarot. Besides teaching regularly at the New York Open Center since 1996 and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York since 2009, he has taught at the World Tarot Congress, in Chicago and in Dallas; the Southeast Tarot Congress, in Florida; the New York Reader's Studio; The Third International Conference of the Association for Esoteric Studies, in Charleston; The Omega Institute, in New York; The New York Theosophical Society; Columbia University; The Museo Dei Tarocchi, in Riola, Italy; The Tarot Guild of Australia, Melbourne; Cartomancia, in Sao Paulo, Brazil; and he has given workshops in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas; and since 2017, in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou, China. His lectures have appeared on the BBC, the Learning Channel, Discovery, and A&E.[18]

In July, 2007, Place had the honor of cutting the ribbon at the grand opening of the Museo dei Tarocchi, in Riola, Italy.[19] Place was also the curator of an exhibition on the art and history of the tarot, which was held at the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum, from January 23, 2010, to May 9, 2010 and is the subject of his book, The Fool's Journey: the History, Art, & Symbolism of the Tarot. His facsimile of one of the earliest Italian Renaissance woodcut Tarots is included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Tarot and divination decks by PlaceEdit

  • The Tarot of the Alchemical Magnum Opus, ISBN 9780991529957
  • An Ukiyo-e Lenormand, ISBN 9780991529940
  • The Raziel Tarot: the Secret Teachings of Adam and Eve, ISBN 9780991529919
  • The Marziano Tarot, ISBN 9780991529926
  • The Hermes Playing Card Oracle, ISBN 9780692562383
  • The New York Lenormand
  • The Burning Serpent Oracle, ISBN 9780991529926
  • Facsimile Italian Renaissance Woodcut Tarocchi
  • The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery, ISBN 9780615700779
  • The Annotated Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery, ISBN 9781935194026
  • The Vampire Tarot, ISBN 9780312361624
  • The Buddha Tarot, ISBN 0738704415
  • The Tarot of the Saints, ISBN 1567185274
  • The Angels Tarot
  • The Alchemical Tarot: Renewed, Editions 2, 3, and 4, ISBN 9780977643417
  • The Alchemical Tarot: Art Edition
  • The Alchemical Tarot, ISBN 1855383012



  1. ^ “Lapidary Journal," February 1989
  2. ^ “American Craft," April/May 1997
  3. ^ “American Craft," June/July 1999
  4. ^ “Ornament," 1992
  5. ^ “Kaatskill Life: A Regional Journal," Sommer 2001
  6. ^ “American Craft," October/November 1985
  7. ^ “Ornament," August 1985
  8. ^ “Ornament," Spring 1989
  9. ^ Bishop Gordon (1985) Gems of New Jersey, Prentice Hall, Englewood Clifts, NJ ISBN 0-13-347436-4
  10. ^ “Niche," Spring 1990
  11. ^ “Niche," Spring 1991
  12. ^ "Gnosis: A Journal of Western Inner Traditions," Fall 1989
  13. ^ "Gnosis: A Journal of Western Inner Traditions," Summer 1996
  14. ^ Interview with Robert M. Place
  15. ^ Robles-Smith, Kimberley,"Library Journal," 2005
  16. ^ Monaghan, Patricia, "Booklist," March 15, 2005
  17. ^ Monaghan
  18. ^ Place, Robert M., The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination New York, Tarcher/Penguin: 2005, p.321
  19. ^

External linksEdit