Bayou Barn

Bayou Barn
1970 by George Rodrigue
12 x 16 inches
Oil on canvas
Signed by the artist

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Provenance: Originally in the collection of Ken and Torrie Curtis.  Ken Curtis (1916-1991) was an American singer and actor best known for this long-running role as “Festus” on the western television series Gunsmoke.  The painting has remained in the family’s possession since 1970.

PHOTO: Pictured below is Ken Curtis and George Rodrigue, 1970, holding Bayou Barn the day of his purchase.

It was on the long drives back from The Art Center College of Design in California that George Rodrigue developed his early style.  He thought about it for some time, about how different South Louisiana was from other places.  Returning to his home made him aware of what he had missed, and he also realized that no artist was painting the true spirit of Louisiana — the dark and mysterious swamps, the bayous, and the cemeteries.  He had found his subject matter that ultimately defined his early career.

Rodrigue’s landscape paintings fall into two distinct categories — oak tree landscapes and landscapes with people.  For Rodrigue, the live oak was not only a symbol of Louisiana, but it was a strong design element which he used to its fullest potential.  In every Rodrigue landscape there are three main elements —  the oak tree, cut off at the top, the shadows in the foreground and the mysterious light visible in the sky beneath the branches.  Rodrigue never grew tired of the oak tree and continued to experiment with variations on this one theme and formula for his entire life.