Although he also competed with his painting Wrestlers, Alfred Poor was best known as one of America’s most influential 20th century architects. His father was Charles Lane Poor, a famous astronomer. Alfred Poor studied at Harvard and at the University of Pennsylvania under Paul Philippe Cret. Thanks to a scholarship he was able to spend his final year in Paris at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the American Academy in Roma. He served in the Navy in both World Wars. His projects are mostly located in New York City and in Washington, DC, where he worked for the Federal Government.
One of his most prominent works is the Wright Brothers National Memorial, which he designed in 1928 together with Robert Rodgers and submitted to the architecture competition. He was also the principal architect for the US Library of Congress’ James Madison Memorial Building. Some of his projects in New York were the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building, the Queens County Courthouse and Prison in Kew Gardens, the Home Insurance Company Building, and the Red Hook housing project, but also included numerous branch offices of major banks and country homes. In Philadelphia he built the Annenberg School on the campus of his former university. His graphic work mostly comprised architectural motives, and he also authored a number of books on design and architecture. From 1966-77 Poor was the president of the National Academy of Design in New York.