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Henry Varnum Poor

Biography to Display: 

1887 Born Chapman, Kansas

1970 Died Crow House Rockland, New York

EDUCATION

Painting, Slade School, London, England

Painting, Academie Julien, Paris, France

1910 BA Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

PRIMARY WORK EXPERIENCE

1911-1912Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

1920-1970 Studio Potter

 

Henry Varnum Poor is best known for his thrown earthenware domestic work especially plates and bowls which were glazed with metallic oxides on slip, often with the addition of sgraffito.

Still lifes, pastoral scenes, portraits and figures were his subjects and reflected his training as a painter and his postimpressionist paintings. He also created many painted and tiled murals in public buildings including the Departments of Justice and the Interior in Washington, D.C.

After returning from World War I, Poor traveled to  NYC to sell his paintings.  During that time he was introduced to ceramics which became his creative focus from the 1920s onward. Poor is considered one of the first studio potters in the USA. His lifestyle embodied the Studio Crafts Movement. Poor  lived and worked for over 50 years at Crow House where he designed and built his home, studio and out buildings.

Poor was one of four founders and the first president of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Madison, Maine.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Bibliography

Bibliography to Display: 

Clark, Garth and Margie Hughto. A Century of Ceramics in the United States: A Study of It’s Development. Syracuse, NY: Everson Museum with E.P. Dutton and Co. Inc., 1979.

Levin, Elaine. The History of American Ceramics: From Pipkins and Bean Pots to Contemporary Forms. New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams Inc., Publishers, 1988.

Poor, Henry Varnum. A Book of Pottery: From Mud into Immorality. New York, NY: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1958.

Stiegleder, Linda. “Henry Varnum Poor 1887-1970.” American Craft 44, no. 1 (February/March 1984).

 

 

Typical Marks

Henry Varnum Poor’s ceramics are typically signed with a linked HVP in which the center V is formed by the right vertical of the H and the vertical of the P angled downward and joined to form the V. Poor adopted this linked HVP mark in the mid to late 1920's, and used it on all his ceramics going forward. In his earlier career he sometimes signed with a straight "HP" in color on the face of the work. He signed his paintings "HV Poor". (Peter Poor, son of Henry Varnum Poor, 3/10/2017)

1939
ca 1922
ca 1922
1930-1940
1942
Platter with Nude
Date: 1931
Everson Museum of Art Collection, gift of Ferro Enamel Corp., 8th Ceramic National, 1939
Photo: John Polak
Everson Museum of Art Collection, gift of Ferro Enamel Corp., 8th Ceramic National, 1939
Photo: John Polak
Covered Jar, Hamilton Farm
Date: 1930-1940
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Charles Baskerville, 1979, 1979.79.1ab
Photo: TMP
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Charles Baskerville, 1979, 1979.79.1ab
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Plate
Date: ca 1922
Materials: Earthenware
Surface Technique: Glaze
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1922, 22.187.2
Photo: TMP
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1922, 22.187.2
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Plate
Date: 1942
Materials: Earthenware
Surface Technique: Glaze
Courtesy Rago Arts and Auctions
Photo: TMP
Courtesy Rago Arts and Auctions
Photo: TMP

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified October 16, 2019. http://www.themarksproject.org:443/marks/poor