Yes… it’s true. Frederic Remington, legendary Western artist, began his professional artistic career while living in Albany and working as a NYS clerk.
He was born in Canton NY on October 4, 1861; the family then moved to Ogdensburg. After high school he became the first (and only, for the time) student to attend art school at Yale, but his father became ill, and he returned home after a couple of semesters. Upon the death of his father his uncle found him a well-paying job (about $1,200/year) as a clerk for State Government in Albany.
During those years, 1880 -1882, city directories list his address as 142 State St. (1 building down from Eagle), about where the Renaissance Hotel (a/k/a DeWitt Clinton) is located today.
In 1881, Fred (as he was called) took a vacation out West with a friend and was smitten. He returned to Albany and worked on sketches from the trip. He submitted one to Harper’s Weekly (allegedly on a piece of wrapping paper) and it was accepted for a February 1882 issue.
Using a legacy from his father, he cleared out of Albany and by March 1883 Remington purchased a ranch in Peabody Kansas. That didn’t work out so well, but he kept on drawing for Harper’s and within about 5 years became an artist of major repute, both in the U.S. and across the world.
The moral of the story? NEVER underestimate the talents of a NYS civil servant.
Copyright 2021 Julie O’Connor