The present monumental sculpture was originally commissioned by Charles & Fils, Le Havre, importers of exotic woods, to decorate their pavilion of Exotic Colonial Woods at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris. The pavilion (fig. 1) was located on the Quai d'Orsay, near the Pont des Invalides. In the official guide to this exhibition, the carved wooden version was described as "The French genius sending ships in search of rare essences in overseas countries."
In 1985, Charles & Fils granted the city of Paris the right to cast eight examples of the work in bronze. The first cast is in the collection of the Zadkine Museum in Paris and was installed in February 1993 on the place de Finlande in the VIIe arrondissement, at the outlet of the Pont des Invalides, close to its original location.
(fig. 1) Photograph of the carved wooden version of Le Messager installed at the pavilion of the Exotic Colonial Woods at the L'Exposition Internationale in 1937.
(fig. 2) The artist in his studio, circa 1931-1932.