MORRIS MUSEUM OF ART PERMANENT COLLECTION

"Opossum Snout, Haralson County, Georgia" by Lyell E. Carr

Lyell E. Carr (1857–1912)
Opossum Snout, Haralson County, Georgia
1891
Oil on canvas
28½ x 40½ inches
Museum purchase; 1989.01.025

Chicago-born artist Lyell E. Carr ventured South when the Southern tourism industry began to boom after the Reconstruction era, and he was best known during his lifetime for a series of works he created in rural Georgia. Carr painted this work, Opossum Snout, Haralson County, Georgia when he stayed in the area. The community of Opossum Snout became known as Tallapoosa.

Carr traveled to this region of Georgia after a group of Northern investors had transformed the rural community into a booming tourist town. There are several stories about the origin of the name Opossum Snout. One story tells of a settler who arrived in the rural town and could not find any goods worth purchasing in order to continue his travels. In commenting on the futility of the town, he supposedly exclaimed, "It's nothing but an old possum snout anyway!" Another legend explains that Opossum Snout was the name of a local Native American chief who had a nose similar to that of a possum. Whatever the truth, by using the former name of the once quiet community of Opossum Snout as the image's title, Carr recalls a time in the South before the turbulent period of the Civil War.