The Message
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

The Message, which Henry completed soon after traveling to the South to observe the process of Reconstruction, is a more ambiguous work than The Invalid. Though the title calls attention to the folded letter in the boy’s hand, the contents of this “message” are not clear. Nor does Henry specify the letter’s recipient. Like the two figures who stand behind the fence in the background, the viewer witnesses the scene only from a distance.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
2003.279
People
Edward Lamson Henry, American (Charleston, SC 1841 - 1919 Ellenville, NY)
Title
The Message
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
1893
Places
Creation Place: North America, United States
Culture
American
Location
Level 2, Room 2100, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, Painting and Photography in an Era of Social Change
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Oil on board
Dimensions
23.5 x 30.5 cm (9 1/4 x 12 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.r. E. L. Henry 93
Provenance
Gift of the artist to Beers Brothers, framers; gift of one of the brothers to his daughter; her gift to William Beers Crowell, her son; his gift to Gilbert Gabriel; his sale to Mrs. Norman B. Woolworth, New York; private collection; Alexander Gallery, New York; their sale to Theodore E. Stebbins Jr., 1999; his gift to Fogg Art Museum, 2003.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Theodore E. Stebbins Jr.
Accession Year
2003
Object Number
2003.279
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
Exhibition History

Harvard Collects American Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/09/2003 - 02/22/2004

Tangible Things, Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Cambridge, 01/24/2011 - 05/29/2011

32Q: 2100 19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Google Art Project

Verification Level

4 - Best. Object is extensively researched, well described and information is vetted