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Mrs. John W. Garrett in Spanish Costume [painting] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Melchers, Gari 1860-1932  Search this
Subject:
Garrett, Alice Warder  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1926
Topic:
Portrait female--Full length  Search this
Occupation--Monetary--Philanthropist  Search this
Dress--Ethnic--Spanish Dress  Search this
Dress--Accessory--Fan  Search this
Object--Furniture--Chair  Search this
Image number:
JUL J0024119
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_24120

Mrs. John W. Garrett [painting] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Melchers, Gari 1860-1932  Search this
Subject:
Garrett, Alice Warder  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
Ca. 1926
Topic:
Portrait female--Bust  Search this
Dress--Accessory--Hat  Search this
Image number:
JUL J0024129
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_24130

Mrs. John W. Garrett in Spanish Costume [painting] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Melchers, Gari 1860-1932  Search this
Subject:
Garrett, Alice Warder  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1926
Topic:
Portrait female--Full length  Search this
Occupation--Monetary--Philanthropist  Search this
Dress--Ethnic--Spanish Dress  Search this
Dress--Accessory--Fan  Search this
Object--Furniture--Chair  Search this
Image number:
JUL J0087548
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_87549

Alice Warder Garrett

Artist:
Alice Pike Barney, born Cincinnati, OH 1857-died Los Angeles, CA 1931  Search this
Sitter:
Alice Warder Garrett  Search this
Medium:
oil on canvas
Dimensions:
45 x 25 7/8 in. (114.4 x 65.8 cm)
Type:
Painting
Date:
ca. 1909-1910
Topic:
Portrait female  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Laura Dreyfus Barney and Natalie Clifford Barney in memory of their mother, Alice Pike Barney
Object number:
1952.13.32
See more items in:
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department:
Painting and Sculpture
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:saam_1952.13.32

Margaret Casey Gates papers, 1934-1988

Creator:
Gates, Margaret Casey, 1903-1989  Search this
Subject:
Gernand, John  Search this
Stieglitz, Alfred  Search this
Knaths, Karl  Search this
Rayford, Julian Lee  Search this
Dove, Arthur Garfield  Search this
Gates, Robert Franklin  Search this
Garrett, Alice Warder  Search this
Fitzpatrick, Daniel Robert  Search this
Taylor, Prentiss  Search this
Phillips Collection  Search this
Federal Art Project  Search this
Phillips Memorial Gallery.Art School  Search this
Federal Works Agency  Search this
Armory Show (1913 : New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Topic:
Writings  Search this
Sketchbooks  Search this
Art, Modern  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Post office buildings  Search this
Painters  Search this
Art teachers  Search this
Scrapbooks  Search this
New Deal, 1933-1939  Search this
Photographs  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6547
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)215822
AAA_collcode_gatemarg
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks
Women
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_215822
Additional Online Media:

Alice Warder Garrett, (painting)

Painter:
Melchers, Gari 1860-1932  Search this
Subject:
Garrett, Alice Warder  Search this
Medium:
Oil
Type:
Paintings
Date:
1926
Topic:
Portrait female  Search this
Control number:
IAP 70830857
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_131746

Henry Varnum Poor papers, 1873-2001, bulk 1904-1970

Creator:
Poor, Henry Varnum, 1887-1970  Search this
Subject:
Mumford, Lewis  Search this
Poor, Bessie Breuer  Search this
Poor, Josephine Lydia  Search this
Burchfield, Charles Ephraim  Search this
Benton, William  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel  Search this
Ciardi, John  Search this
Poor, Anne  Search this
Marston, Muktuk  Search this
Evergood, Philip Howard  Search this
Houseman, John  Search this
Deming, MacDonald  Search this
Meredith, Burgess  Search this
Padro, Isabel  Search this
Smith, David  Search this
Esherick, Wharton  Search this
Garrett, Alice Warder  Search this
Dorn, Marion  Search this
Poor, Eva  Search this
Poor, Peter  Search this
Dickson, Harold E.  Search this
Poor, Josephine Graham  Search this
Billing, Jules  Search this
Watson, Ernest William  Search this
Caniff, Milton Arthur  Search this
Sargent, Elizabeth S.  Search this
Steinbeck, John  Search this
Czebotar, Theodore  Search this
Biddle, George  Search this
Montross Gallery  Search this
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture  Search this
Topic:
War artists  Search this
Diaries  Search this
Sketchbooks  Search this
Drawings  Search this
Prints  Search this
Ceramicists  Search this
Artists' studios  Search this
World War, 1914-1918  Search this
Educators  Search this
Designers  Search this
Sketches  Search this
Painters  Search this
Motion pictures (visual works)  Search this
Muralists  Search this
Watercolors  Search this
Illustrations  Search this
Architects  Search this
Photographs  Search this
Authors  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13442
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)210589
AAA_collcode_poorhenr
Theme:
Lives of American Artists
Craft
Diaries
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_210589
Additional Online Media:

Alice Warder Garrett, (painting)

Title:
Miss Alice Warder, (painting)
Painter:
Barney, Alice Pike 1857-1931  Search this
Subject:
Garrett, Alice Warder  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Smithsonian American Art Museum 8th & G Streets, N.W Washington District of Columbia 20560 Accession Number: 1952.13.32
Date:
Ca. 1909-1910
Topic:
Portrait female  Search this
Control number:
IAP 08581981
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_250670

Alice in Costume

Title:
Alice Warder Garrett
Artist:
Leon Bakst, 1866 - 1924  Search this
Sitter:
Alice Warder Garrett, 1877 - 1952  Search this
Medium:
Pastel on paper?
Dimensions:
Not available
Type:
Drawing
Date:
1915
Topic:
Interior  Search this
Costume\Headgear\Turban  Search this
Alice Warder Garrett: Visual Arts\Artist  Search this
Alice Warder Garrett: Female  Search this
Alice Warder Garrett: Visual Arts\Founder  Search this
Alice Warder Garrett: Visual Arts\Art Collector  Search this
Alice Warder Garrett: Visual Arts\Art Patron  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
Owner: Evergreen Museum & Library
Object number:
EH1975.196.1
See more items in:
Catalog of American Portraits
Data Source:
Catalog of American Portraits
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_EH1975.196.1

Alice Warder Garrett

Artist:
Gari Melchers, 11 Aug 1860 - 30 Nov 1932  Search this
Sitter:
Alice Warder Garrett, 1877 - 1952  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
196.5cm x 130.3cm (77 3/8" x 51 5/16"), Sight
Type:
Painting
Date:
1926
Topic:
Alice Warder Garrett: Visual Arts\Artist  Search this
Alice Warder Garrett: Female  Search this
Alice Warder Garrett: Visual Arts\Founder  Search this
Alice Warder Garrett: Visual Arts\Art Collector  Search this
Alice Warder Garrett: Visual Arts\Art Patron  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
Owner: Belmont, Gari Melchers Estate and Memorial Gallery
Website: https://garimelchers.umw.edu
Object number:
MWC 1677
See more items in:
Catalog of American Portraits
Data Source:
Catalog of American Portraits
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_MWC_1677

Margaret Casey Gates papers

Creator:
Gates, Margaret Casey, 1903-1989  Search this
Names:
Armory Show (1913: New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Federal Art Project  Search this
Federal Works Agency  Search this
Phillips Collection  Search this
Phillips Memorial Gallery. Art School  Search this
Clark, Betty Jean  Search this
Dove, Arthur Garfield, 1880-1946  Search this
Fitzpatrick, Daniel Robert, 1891-1969  Search this
Garrett, Alice Warder  Search this
Gates, Robert Franklin, 1906-1982  Search this
Gernand, John, 1913-1990  Search this
Knaths, Karl, 1891-1971  Search this
Lewis, John L.  Search this
Rayford, Julian Lee  Search this
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946  Search this
Taylor, Prentiss, 1907-1991  Search this
Extent:
1 Linear foot
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Writings
Sketchbooks
Date:
1934-1988
Summary:
The papers of Washington, D.C. painter Margaret Casey Gates date from 1934-1988, and measure 1.0 linear foot. Gates' papers document her work as a painter, her projects for the New Deal federal arts programs, the Phillips Memorial Gallery and its art school, where she attended school and later worked as secretary and where her husband Robert Franklin Gates was a teacher, and the Washington, D.C. arts scene. Found are scattered correspondence, seven sketchbooks by Gates and two sketchbooks of her divorced husband Robert Franklin Gates. Miscellaneous notes and writings, a scrapbook, printed material, and photographs of Gates, her husband, friends, artwork, and views of the Virgin Islands are also included in the papers.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Washington, D.C. painter Margaret Casey Gates date from 1934-1988, and measure 1.0 linear foot. Gates' papers document her work as a painter, her projects for the New Deal federal arts programs, the Phillips Memorial Gallery and its art school, where she attended school and later worked as secretary and where her husband Robert Franklin Gates was a teacher, and the Washington, D.C. arts scene. Found are scattered correspondence, seven sketchbooks by Gates and two sketchbooks of her divorced husband Robert Franklin Gates. Miscellaneous notes and writings, a scrapbook, printed material, and photographs of Gates, her husband, friends, artwork, and views of the Virgin Islands are also included in the papers.

Twelve folders of scattered correspondence include letters from the Federal Works Agency and one or two letters each from friends and individuals that reflect Gates' wide range of interests and activities. Correspondents include Betty Jean Clark, Arthur G. Dove, D. R. Fitzpatrick, Alice Garrett, John Gernand, Karl Knaths, John L. Lewis, a Brazilian artist named Portinari, Julian Lee Rayford, Alfred Stieglitz, and Prentiss Taylor.

Artwork consists of seven of Margaret Casey Gates' sketchbooks and two of Robert Franklin Gates' sketchbooks of both abstract and figural sketches. Margaret's sketchbooks contain landscapes that illustrate her travels to Colorado, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Virgin Islands. Sketchbook #2 contains pencil, ink, and pastel drawings of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and an intimate drawing of Robert Franklin Gates, Mitchell Jamieson, and Prentiss Taylor asleep on a ship. Artwork also includes a fine caricature of Robert Franklin Gates by Karl Knaths.

Notes and writings primarily consist of scattered notes and brief descriptive accounts of Gates's experiences at the Phillips Gallery, and at the Colorado Springs Art Center. Her extensive descriptions of her travels to the Virgin Islands are also illustrated.

A scrapbook primarily contains clippings, but also includes an award certificate, letters concerning various topics including Pepsi-Cola's annual art competition and Federal Works Agency projects, brochures for the Phillips Gallery Art School and for the McLean Art Club, and a photograph of the mural at the Mebane, North Carolina post office.

Printed material consists of clippings including copies of the rare magazines The Washington Spectator and the American University publication Right Angle, announcements and catalogs for exhibitions of Gates's work, and miscellaneous booklets and brochures. There is also printed material concerning the Armory Show including a copy of the booklet The Story of the Armory Show by Walt Kuhn.

Photographs are of Margaret Casey Gates, Robert Franklin Gates, friends including Prentiss Taylor, her home, and her artwork. Photographs of Margaret and Robert Gates and their artist friends during their visits to the Virgin Islands in the 1930s are of primary interest, offering unique glimpses of that culture during the 1930s. These photographs include aerial photographs of St. Thomas and photographs by Prentiss Taylor.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 6 series. Each series is arranged chronologically.

Series 1: Correspondence, 1934-1986 (Box 1; 12 folders)

Series 2: Artwork, 1935-1965 (Box 1; 12 folders)

Series 3: Notes and Writings, 1939-1984 (Box 1; 7 folders)

Series 4: Scrapbook, 1938-1961 (Box 1; 3 folders)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1935-1988 (Box 1; 20 folders)

Series 6: Photographs, 1934-1976 (Box 1; 19 folders)
Biographical Note:
Margaret Casey was born in 1903 in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. She studied art in the studio of Bertha Perry, and from 1924 to 1926 at the Corcoran Art School. She later studied under Henry Varnum Poor at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

After working as a commercial artist from 1928-1929, Casey began studying at the Phillips Memorial Gallery in 1931 under C. Law Watkins. There, she met her husband, painter Robert Franklin Gates, and married on January 7, 1933. Robert Franklin Gates (1906-1982), who came to Washington, D.C. in 1930, also studied at the Phillips Gallery Art School and worked with Karl Knaths between 1934 and 1947.

Between 1934 and 1941, Robert Gates, with other artists including Mitchell Jamieson and Prentiss Taylor, made several painting trips to the Virgin Islands on a fine arts commission from the U. S. Treasury Department. Margaret Gates accompanied her husband and produced artwork of her own. She also documented their travels. During this same time, Robert taught at the Phillips Gallery Art School and Margaret was employed as the Art School's secretary. In 1937, they purchased a house in McLean, Virginia where Margaret lived until 1980.

In 1939, Margaret Gates won honorable mention in a national mural competition held by the Section of Fine Arts of the U. S. Public Buildings Administration and was subsequently commissioned by the Federal Works Agency to execute a mural for the Post office at Mebane, North Carolina. The mural was completed and installed in 1941.

During the late 1940s and early 1950s, Margaret Gates wrote articles on art for Washington, D. C. publications including the column "The People vs. Art" for American University's Right Angle, and for the magazine The Washington Spectator.

Margaret and Robert Gates were divorced circa 1955. They had no children.

Margaret Gates exhibited her work in the first exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in 1941, as one of many winners of a national competition sponsored by the Federal Works Agency for artwork to decorate a Marine hospital for lepers in Louisiana. She also exhibited in the "Group Show of Washington Painters" at the Bignou Gallery in New York City, as well as at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Philips Collection, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. A retrospective of her work was exhibited at the Watkins Gallery of American University in 1981. Several of her paintings are in the collection of the Phillips Gallery.

Margaret Casey Gates died on November 4, 1989, in Mitchellville, Maryland.
Related Material:
Also found in the Archives of American Art are the papers of Gates' divorced husband Robert Franklin Gates dating from 1910-1988.
Provenance:
The Margaret Casey Gates papers were a bequest from Gates' estate in 1994, executed by her niece Joyce D. Svedberg.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Margaret Casey Gates papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
New Deal, 1933-1939  Search this
Post office buildings -- North Carolina  Search this
Painters -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Art teachers -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Women painters -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Writings
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Margaret Casey Gates papers, 1934-1988. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.gatemarg
See more items in:
Margaret Casey Gates papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-gatemarg

Henry Varnum Poor papers

Creator:
Poor, Henry Varnum, 1887-1970  Search this
Names:
Montross Gallery  Search this
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture  Search this
Benton, William, 1900-1973  Search this
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Billing, Jules  Search this
Burchfield, Charles Ephraim, 1893-1967  Search this
Caniff, Milton Arthur, 1907-1988  Search this
Ciardi, John, 1916-  Search this
Czebotar, Theodore  Search this
Deming, MacDonald  Search this
Dickson, Harold E., 1900-  Search this
Dorn, Marion, 1896-1964  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968  Search this
Esherick, Wharton  Search this
Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973  Search this
Garrett, Alice Warder  Search this
Houseman, John, 1902-1988  Search this
Marston, Muktuk  Search this
Meredith, Burgess, 1907-1997  Search this
Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990  Search this
Padro, Isabel  Search this
Poor, Anne, 1918-  Search this
Poor, Bessie Breuer  Search this
Poor, Eva  Search this
Poor, Josephine Graham  Search this
Poor, Josephine Lydia  Search this
Poor, Peter  Search this
Sargent, Elizabeth S.  Search this
Smith, David, 1906-1965  Search this
Steinbeck, John, 1902-1968  Search this
Watson, Ernest William, 1884-1969  Search this
Extent:
12.9 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Sketches
Motion pictures (visual works)
Diaries
Prints
Photographs
Illustrations
Drawings
Watercolors
Sketchbooks
Date:
1873-2001
bulk 1904-1970
Summary:
The papers of Henry Varnum Poor measure 12.9 linear feet and date from 1873-2001, with the bulk from the period 1904-1970. Correspondence, writings, artwork, printed material and photographs document Poor's work as a painter, muralist, ceramic artist and potter, architect, designer, writer, war artist, educator and a co-founder of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Also found is extensive information about the design and construction of Crow House, his home in New City, New York, commissions for other architectural projects, and his personal life.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Henry Varnum Poor measure 12.9 linear feet and date from 1873-2001, with the bulk from the period 1904-1970. Correspondence, writings, artwork, printed material and photographs document Poor's work as a painter, muralist, ceramic artist and potter, architect, designer, writer, war artist, educator and a co-founder of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Also found is extensive information about the design and construction of Crow House, his home in New City, New York, commissions for other architectural projects, and his personal life.

Henry Varnum Poor's correspondence documents his personal, family, and professional life. Correspondents include family and friends, among them George Biddle, Charles Burchfield, John Ciardi, Marion V. Dorn (who became his second wife), Philip Evergood, Lewis Mumford, John Steinbeck, David Smith, and Mrs. John Work (Alice) Garrett. Among other correspondents are galleries, museums, schools, organizations, fans, former students, and acquaintances from his military service and travels. Family correspondence consists of Henry's letters to his parents, letters to his parents written by his wife, and letters among other family members.

Among the writings by Henry Varnum Poor are manuscripts of his two published books, An Artist Sees Alaska and A Book of Pottery: From Mud to Immortality. as well as the text of "Painting is Being Talked to Death," published in the first issue of Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions, April 1953, and manuscripts of other articles. There are also film scripts, two journals, notes and notebooks, lists, speeches, and writings by others, including M. R. ("Muktuk") Marston's account of Poor rescuing an Eskimo, and Bessie Breuer Poor's recollections of The Montross Gallery.

Subject files include those on the Advisory Committee on Art, American Designers' Gallery, Inc., William Benton, Harold Dickson, Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions Sales, and War Posters. There are numerous administrative files for the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Artwork by Henry Varnum Poor consists mainly of loose drawings and sketches and 45 sketchbooks of studies for paintings, murals, and pottery. There is work done in France, 1918-1919, and while working as a war correspondent in Alaska in 1943. There are commissioned illustrations and some intended for his monograph, A Book of Pottery: From Mud to Immortality. Also found are a small number of watercolors and prints. Work by other artists consist of Anne Poor's drawings of her father's hands used for the Lincoln figure in The Land Grant Frescoes and interior views of Crow House by Ernest Watson.

Documentation of Poor's architectural projects consists of drawings and prints relating to houses designed and built for Jules Billing, MacDonald Deming, John Houseman, Burgess Meredith, Isabel Padro, and Elizabeth S. Sargent. Also found is similar material for the new studio Poor built in 1957 on the grounds of Crow House.

Miscellaneous records include family memorabilia and two motion picture films, Painting a True Fresco, and The Land Grant Murals at Pennsylvania State College.

Printed material includes articles about or mentioning Poor, some of his pottery reference books, family history, a catalog of kilns, and the program of a 1949 Pennsylvania State College theater production titled Poor Mr. Varnum. Exhibition catalogs and announcements survive for some of Poor's shows; catalogs of other artists' shows include one for Theodore Czebotar containing an introductory statement by Henry Varnum Poor. Also found is a copy of The Army at War: A Graphic Record by American Artists, for which Poor served as an advisor. There are reproductions of illustrations for An Artist Sees Alaska and Ethan Frome, and two Associated American Artists greeting cards reproducing work by Poor.

Photographs are of Henry Varnum Poor's architectural work, artwork, people, places, and miscellaneous subjects. This series also contains negatives, slides, and transparencies. Images of architectural work include exterior and interior views of many projects; Poor's home, Crow House, predominates. Photographs of artwork by Poor are of drawings, fresco and ceramic tile murals, paintings, pottery and ceramic art. People appearing in photographs include Henry Varnum Poor, family members, friends, clients, juries, students, and various groups. Among the individuals portrayed are Milton Caniff, Marcel Duchamp, Wharton Esherick, M. R. ("Muktuk") Marston, and Burgess Meredith. Among the family members are Bessie Breuer Poor, Marion Dorn Poor, Anne Poor, Eva Poor, Josephine Graham Poor, Josephine Lydia Poor, Peter Poor, and unidentified relatives. Photographs of places include many illustrating village life in Alaska that were taken by Poor during World War II. Other places recorded are French and California landscapes, and family homes in Kansas. Miscellaneous subjects are exhibition installation views, scenes of Kentucky farms, and a photograph of Poor's notes on glazes.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 9 series:

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1919-1987 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1, OV 18)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1873-1985 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)

Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1944-1974 (0.6 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)

Series 4: Subject Files, 1928-1975 (0.8 linear feet; Box 3, OV 23)

Series 5: Artwork, circa 1890s-circa 1961 (3.5 linear feet; Boxes 4-6, 9-10, OV 19-22)

Series 6: Architectural Projects, circa 1940-1966 (0.7 linear feet; Box 6, OV 24-26, RD 14-17)

Series 7: Miscellaneous Records, 1882-1967 (Boxes 6, 11, FC 30-31; 0.5 linear ft.)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1881-2001 (1.2 linear feet; Boxes 6-7, 11, OV 27-29)

Series 9: Photographs, 1893-1984 (2.3 linear feet; Boxes 7-8, 12-13)
Biographical Note:
Henry Varnum Poor (1888-1970), best known as a potter, ceramic artist, and a co-founder of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, was also an architect, painter, muralist, designer, educator, and writer who lived and worked in New City, New York.

A native of Chapman, Kansas, Henry Varnum Poor moved with his family to Kansas City when his grain merchant father became a member of the Kansas Board of Trade. From a young age he showed artistic talent and spent as much time as possible - including school hours - drawing. When a school supervisor suggested that Henry leave school to study at the Art Institute of Chicago, the family disagreed. Instead, he enrolled in the Kansas City Manual Training High School where he delighted in learning skills such as carpentry, forge work, and mechanical drawing. In 1905, he moved with his older brother and sister to Palo Alto, California and completed high school there. Because Poor was expected to join the family business, he enrolled at Stanford University as an economics major, but much to his father's disappointment and displeasure, soon left the economics department and became an art major.

Immediately after graduation in 1910, Poor and his major professor at Stanford, Arthur B. Clark, took a summer bicycling tour to look at art in London, France, Italy, and Holland. As Poor had saved enough money to remain in London after the summer was over, he enrolled in the Slade School of Art and also studied under Walter Sickert at the London County Council Night School. After seeing an exhibition of Post-Impressionism at the Grafton Galleries in London, Poor was so impressed that he went to Paris and enrolled in the Académie Julian. While in Paris, Poor met Clifford Addams, a former apprentice of Whistler; soon he was working in Addams' studio learning Whistler's palette and techniques.

In the fall of 1911, Poor returned to Stanford University's art department on a one-year teaching assignment. During that academic year, his first one-man show was held at the university's Old Studio gallery. He married Lena Wiltz and moved back to Kansas to manage the family farm and prepare for another exhibition. Their daughter, Josephine Lydia Poor, was born the following year. Poor returned to Stanford in September 1913 as assistant professor of graphic arts, remaining until the department closed three years later. During this period, Poor began to exhibit more frequently in group shows in other areas of the country, and had his first solo exhibition at a commercial gallery (Helgesen Gallery, San Francisco). In 1916, Poor joined the faculty of the San Francisco Art Association. He and his wife separated in 1917 and were divorced the following year. Poor began sharing his San Francisco studio with Marion Dorn.

During World War I, Poor was drafted into the U. S. Army, and in 1918 went to France with the 115th Regiment of Engineers. He spent his spare time drawing; soon officers were commissioning portraits, and Poor was appointed the regimental artist. He also served as an interpreter for his company. Discharged from the Army in early 1919, Poor spent the spring painting in Paris. He then returned to San Francisco and married Marion Dorn.

Once Poor realized that earning a living as a painter would be extremely difficult in California, he and his new wife moved to New York in the autumn of 1919. They were looking for a place to live when influential book and art dealer Mary Mowbray-Clarke of the Sunwise Turn Bookshop in Manhattan suggested New City in Rockland County, New York as good place for artists. In January of 1920, the Poors purchased property on South Mountain Road in New City. The skills he acquired at the Kansas City Manual Training High School were of immediate use as Poor designed and constructed "Crow House" with the assistance of a local teenager. Influenced by the farmhouses he had seen in France, it was made of local sandstone and featured steep gables, rough plaster, chestnut beams and floors, and incorporated many hand-crafted details. Poor designed and built most of their furniture, too. Before the end of the year, he and Marion were able to move into the house, though it remained a work in progress for many years. Additions were constructed. Over time, gardens were designed and planted, and outbuildings - a kiln and pottery, work room, garage, and new studio - appeared on the property.

In 1925, two years after his divorce from Marion Dorn, Poor married Bessie Freedman Breuer (1893-1975), an editor, short story writer, and novelist. Soon after, he adopted her young daughter, Anne (1918-2002), an artist who served as his assistant on many important mural commissions. Their son, Peter (b. 1926) became a television producer. Crow House remained in the family until its sale in 2006. In order to prevent its demolition, Crow House was then purchased by the neighboring town of Ramapo, New York in 2007.

Between 1935 and 1966 Poor designed and oversaw construction of a number of houses, several of them situated not far from Crow House on South Mountain Road. Poor's designs, noted for their simplicity, featured modern materials and incorporated his ceramic tiles. Among his important commissions were houses for Maxwell Anderson, Jules Billig, Milton Caniff, MacDonald Deming, and John Houseman.

Poor's first exhibition of paintings in New York City was at Kevorkian Galleries in 1920, and sales were so disappointing that he turned his attention to ceramics. His first pottery show, held at Bel Maison Gallery in Wanamaker's department store in 1921, was very successful. He quickly developed a wide reputation, participated in shows throughout the country, and won awards. He was a founder of the short-lived American Designers' Gallery, and the tile bathroom he showed at the group's first exposition was critically acclaimed. Poor was represented by Montross Gallery as both a painter and potter. When Montross Gallery closed upon its owner's death in 1932, Poor moved to the Frank K. M. Rehn Gallery.

Even though Poor's pottery and ceramic work was in the forefront, he continued to paint. His work was acquired by a number of museums, and the Limited Editions Club commissioned him to illustrate their republications of Ethan Frome, The Scarlet Letter, and The Call of the Wild.

Poor's first work in true fresco was shown in a 1932 mural exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Between 1935 and 1949 he was commissioned to produce several murals in fresco for Section of Fine Arts projects at the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior, The Land Grant Frescoes at Pennsylvania State College, and a mural for the Louisville Courier-Journal. Ceramic tile mural commissions included: the Klingenstein Pavilion, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City; Travelers Insurance Co., Boston; the Fresno Post Office, California; and Hillson Memorial Gallery, Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, Mass.

As a member of the War Artists' Unit, Poor was a "war correspondent" with the rank of major in World War II, and for several months in 1943 was stationed in Alaska. An Artist Sees Alaska, drawing on Poor's observations and experiences, was published in 1945. A Book of Pottery: From Mud to Immortality, his second book, was published in 1958. It remains a standard text on the subject. While on the faculty of Columbia University in the 1950s, Poor and other artists opposed to the growing influence of Abstract Expressionism formed the Reality Group with Poor the head of its editorial committee. Their magazine, Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions, first appeared in 1953 featuring "Painting is Being Talked to Death" by Poor as its lead article. Two more issues were published in 1954 and 1955.

Along with Willard Cummings, Sidney Simon, and Charles Cuttler, in 1946 Henry Varnum Poor helped to establish the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. He served as its first president. Poor and his daughter, Anne, were active members of the Board of Trustees and were instructors for many years. The summer of 1961 was Henry Varnum Poor's last as a full-time teacher, though he continued to spend summers at Skowhegan.

Henry Varnum Poor exhibited widely and received many awards, among them prizes at the Carnegie Institute, Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Architectural League of New York. Poor was appointed to the United States Commission of Fine Arts by President Roosevelt in 1941 and served a five year term. He was elected a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1943. The National Academy of Design named him an Associate Artist in 1954 and an Academician in 1963. He became a trustee of the American Craftsman's Council in 1956. The work of Henry Vernum Poor is represented in the permanent collections of many American museums including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Addison Gallery of American Art, and Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts.

Henry Varnum Poor died at home in New City, New York, December 8, 1970.
Related Material:
An oral history interview with Henry Varnum Poor was conducted by Harlan Phillips for the Archives of American Art in 1964.
Provenance:
Gift of Henry Varnum Poor's son, Peter V. Poor, in 2007. A smaller portion was loaned to the Archives in 1973 by Anne Poor for microfilming and returned to the lender; this material was included in the 2007 gift.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Henry Varnum Poor papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Occupation:
War artists  Search this
Topic:
Architects -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
World War, 1914-1918  Search this
Authors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
War posters  Search this
Educators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Pottery -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Designers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Artists' studios  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketches
Motion pictures (visual works)
Diaries
Prints
Photographs
Illustrations
Drawings
Watercolors
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Henry Varnum Poor papers, 1873-2001, bulk 1904-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.poorhenr
See more items in:
Henry Varnum Poor papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-poorhenr
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