I grew up in a family of artists. My father, Robert Limpus, was a furniture designer and painter in NYC. My mother Geneva (Kindwall, Limpus) Lawrence worked as a fashion illustrator in Indianapolis, NYC and Los Angeles. Her mother was a milliner and dressmaker in Alta, IA. Here is a sampling of her fashion illustrations and her watercolor paintings. She was an incredibly prolific illustrator, working into her 70’s. Upon her retirement she embarked on a career as an equally prolific watercolor painter. She continued to paint and sketch, filling numerous sketchbooks, until just a year before her death last December at age 103. The following article is from a press release upon her 100th birthday. I proudly continue the family tradition in fashion, illustration and design.
Justine Limpus Parish
I am a full time Assoc. Professor at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA
Born GENEVA KINDWALL, she was raised in the small Midwestern town of Alta, Iowa. Geneva’s first art education was in Chicago at The Chicago Academy of Art and The American School of Art. Living in Chicago in the 1930’s, she even had a great story about seeing Al Capone when she worked as an usherette at the Erlanger Theatre (renamed the St James Theatre). Geneva started her 40-year career as a Fashion Illustrator in Chicago in the 1930’s, later moving to Indianapolis where she met her husband, Robert Limpus, a furniture designer. After WWII, she and her family moved to New York City where she worked as a free-lance fashion illustrator and her husband opened a furniture design studio. She free-lanced for Altman’s, DePinna’s, Abraham & Straus, among others. She also had illustrations in an assortment of fashion magazines like Vogue, Harpers, Glamour, and Mademoiselle.
In the 1961, after her husband’s death, Geneva Limpus and her two daughters moved to California. She was brought to Los Angeles by Robinson’s department store to do the popular New York art style of “ink wash”. She remained at Robinson’s for many successful years as one of their high fashion illustrators. In the 70’s she moved back into the free-lance world to work for such major department stores as Bullocks and May Co. in Los Angeles, Buffums in Long Beach, and Liberty House of Hawaii. She also created a “fashion art” column for the Pasadena Star News entitled “Fashions by Geneva” which covered styles of local stores.
In the mid 1980’s after an unusually long and successful career in the fashion industry Geneva Lawrence, now married to her second husband Peter Lawrence, retired to embark on a new career as a watercolor painter. Because of her expertise in ink wash, the transition to watercolor came naturally. She has been in many exhibits in the L.A. area and has won many awards for her figure and landscape painting.
She was a member of the San Gabriel Arts League, Las Artistas Art Group, and a Life Member and past President of the Mid-Valley Arts League.
In 2000, 24 of her original fashion illustrations were accepted into the archive of the Costume and Textiles Study Collection at Los Angeles County Art Museum. She has been a resident of South Pasadena for over 50 years where she was a very active member of the South Pasadena Women’s Club.