Though he was born in Eustis Florida, during a visit by his parents, he was very proud of his New England heritage, living in Springfield Massachusetts most of his life. In the later years of his life he vacationed in Florida.
He joined the advertising firm of Caulkins and Holden in 1912, where he remained for 44 years. He became Art Director and the last 7 years as President. While his given name was James Alfred Clarke, he admired a French artist by the name of Rene Vincent. His associates at C and H started calling him Rene, which he apparently liked, as he adopted it and went by the name of Rene and signed paintings etc. "RC".
He did 2 books for the Limited Editions club. One is the THE NARRATIVE OF ARTHUR GORDEN PYM, By Edgar Allen Poe. This one is in Black and white. The second is the tragedy FAUST. This one is in full color. In both books, he not only did the illustrations and the cover, he also introduced double spacing in the text.
He was the first artist honored in the "Hall Of Fame" introduced by the Art Directors Club .New York.
He was the only commercial artist to receive the HARVARD GOLD MEDAL "BOK AWARD," plus 4 other medals for special merit.
During the 1920's he painted every bridge crossing Manhattan Island..
He was a curator for the HUDSON RIVER MUSEUM, In Yonkers NY. There are a few paintings of his in this museum.
The limited editions club made a portfolio of apprx. 12 of Rene's paintings with only 500 copies. Ernest Elmo Calkins (considered the dean of American advertising) wrote the introduction for this collection.
He was commissioned by Postmaster Summerfoild in 1958 to do a stamp entitled Gunston Hall.
The Society of Illustrators in New York also has several of Rene's paintings.
Information provided by the artist's son, David R. Clarke