Apprentice at the age of sixteen with Tasset, an esteemed medal engraver, Joseph Ernest Ménétrier studied drawing and, after his military service, spent some time at the Beaux-Arts. At twenty-three years he was hospitalized for "manic excitement" in Ville-Evrard, a hospital reserved for paying patients. There he adopted the pseudonym of "Emile Josome Hodinos". He would remain in the hospital his entire life. He began drawing after ten years of confinement, creating a considerable body of work - several thousand drawings in ink and pencil, most of which have disappeared.
His drawings are copies of medals with all their features : images, epigraphs, mottoes, ornaments. The whole of his work constitutes an encyclopedia, an inventory of vices and virtues, description of human anatomy, attitudes, clothing or household items, forming a strange hierarchy. The image of a woman, often naked or wearing a transparent veil, composed, or rather broken up, cut and emptied (feet, legs, knees), appears often in his plates. Along with his drawings, Hodinos wrote L’Histoire générale des Etats européens de 1453 à 1789 (The General History of European States from 1453 to 1789) and a political dictionary.
SEE ALSO :
Réja, Marcel. L’art chez les fous. Paris : Mercure de France, 1907.
Publications de la Compagnie de l’Art Brut, fascicule 9. Text by Michèle Edelmann. Paris,1973.
Publications de la Collection de l’Art Brut, fascicule 18. Text by Lise Maurer. Lausanne, 1994.