Art History

Art Reflections

E.L. Henry Art: Romantic Depiction of African American Life After the Civil War

Edward Lamson Henry was an American artist who specialized in genre paintings. He was born in South Carolina in 1841, but grew up in New York City after the death of his parents. At the age of 17 he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and then went to Paris to study art with some of the greatest artists of the time. Some of these included Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, and Gustave Courbet. After serving briefly in the Civil War, he dedicated his life to painting from his own experiences.

Henry was known for his slightly humorous interpretation of rural American setting and themes. Many of his paintings also include some mode of transportation. Many have described his works and being idealized portraits of American life or historical fictions. Even those depicting life for African-Americans after the war were romantic in their depiction of a peaceful life. In his works, Henry made America appear undisturbed by the tragedies of war.

As part of our diversity art gallery his depiction of African-American life after the war have been extremely popular. Watch as a family is transported to town in On the Way to the Market. Admire a young boys determination in “Protecting the Groceries” or the way a young girl tries to relax at school in his work, “Kept In”. these are only a few of the nostalgic pieces painted by Henry during his career. Due to his depiction of African American life after the civil war, many think Henry is black. However, this is not the case.

You can find some of his finest works in the Edward Lamson Henry gallery on

About the Author

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas, where she studied English literature and got a masters degree in library sciences. She enjoys reading, cooking and playing with her nephews. Her best friend is her little dog Brady.