Nighttime Hospitality


Hospitalité de Nuit (original French title) 

Lithograph on tan wove paper, no date. 
Edition unknown, but certainly very small, if any at all was ever printed. This is the only impression we have ever seen, of the only original lithograph known to have been created by the artist.

Signed in blue crayon.

Poverty and city life conflated to create in Paris a problem of homelessness which was quite novel to most of its inhabitants. Vagrants had existed in rural areas. These people were known as chemineau is French, from the word chemin, trail/path. But they were mostly employed as day laborers and could usually find refuge overnight in a barn. 

The convergence of so much humanity in the metropolis created the modern phenomenon of homelessness. Alexis Jeaneau, who came from a small city, was certainly taken by this reality, as so many other artists, like Edgard Chahine. In his composition he has chosen for a lightheartedness. The image is balanced with three men symmetrically placed on a Parisian bench, each tucked into his hat for the night. While two have found a way to lean against the bench and thus avoid slumping, the man on the right seems inclined to fall over soon. The night is depicted with crachis, literally spittle (or spatter). This type of grayscale was perfected by lithographers such as Cheret and Toulouse-Laturec. It is used to successful effect in this scene of the night. 

8 3/8 x 10 3/4 inches