"Bayou Teche" by Meyer Straus

Meyer Straus (1831–1905)
Bayou Teche
c. 1870
Oil on canvas
30 x 60 inches
Museum purchase; 1989.03.239

While the swamp in Bayou Teche represents a landscape that truly belongs to the South, it is likely that such a scene may not be found in nature. Born in Germany, Meyer Straus immigrated to the United States and eventually settled in New Orleans from 1869 to 1872, where he established a career as a scenic artist for area theaters. Bayou Teche is reminiscent of the kinds of theatrical backdrops that Straus must have painted. The foreground, or front of the scene, is strongly separated from the background through the use of a hazy atmosphere as well as a small boat in the distance. Large oak trees and hanging moss seem to frame the center of the image as if for stage actors.