Henry Varnum Poor Biography

Henry Varnum Poor




Born in Chapman, Kansas, painter Henry Varnum Poor attended Stanford University for four years and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1906, having enrolled earlier for a year to study economics but took time out and re-entered to study art. With no financial support from his family, who disdained artists, he graduated from Stanford Phi Beta Kappa, and then went to the Slade School in London and Academie Julian in Paris.

From 1911 to 1918, he taught at Stanford and then served in the War. From 1920 to 1929, he distinguished himself in New York as a ceramist of decorative figures. Then he returned to painting and also became an excellent muralist in true fresco technique. His murals are in the U.S. Departments of Justice and Interior. Poor had also taught at Columbia University and in Maine; his work is represented in many museums, including the Whitney and Metropolitan museums. Poor wrote ³Artists See Alaska² (1945), and ³A Book of Pottery² (1958).

The following is from Peter Poor, son of the artist: Comments: Attended Stanford 4 years, graduated 1906, taught at Stanford and San Francisco Art Institute, continued making ceramics past 1929 until his death in 1970. He headed the Alaska War Art Unit in WW II, did a series of murals at Penn State, and was a leading founder of Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He was also a member of the National Academy of Design, and the National Institute of Arts and Letters.