Born in Newark, New Jersey Meeker received a scholarship to the National Academy of Design in New York in 1845. New York is where he came into contact with the Hudson River School artist Asher B. Durand who would have a influence on Meeker's style and subject matter throughout his career. In 1859, Meeker established himself as an artist in St. Louis where his reputation grew steadily. While living in Missouri after the Civil War, Meeker established his distinctive landscape painting style of the haunting bayou scenes of southern Louisiana. Using his particular style of luminism, Meeker in Sunlight on the Bayou celebrates the unique, unpopulated landscape of the bayou.