The ceramicist, painter, and muralist Henry Varnum Poor III received an undergraduate degree from Stanford University in 1910 and studied art in both London and Paris. He returned to the United States in 1911 and taught art at Stanford before moving to San Francisco to teach at the San Francisco Art Association. Following military service in World War I, he settled in Rockland County, New York, and focused on ceramics; he also designed and built his own house and designed homes for friends. In the late 1920s, Poor gained recognition as a painter and eventually turned to murals; he was commissioned to paint twelve murals in the U.S. Department of Justice and the mural Conservation of American Wild Life in the Department of the Interior during the 1930s. During World War II he was head of the War Art Unit of the Corps of Engineers. In 1946 he was one of the founders of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and taught at Columbia University. Poor was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a resident fellow in visual arts at the American Academy in Rome from 1950 to 1951. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum, and Phillips Collection are among the many museums that include Poor’s work in their collections. Poor’s papers are in the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.