A lifetime in Fashion Illustration: Geneva R. Lawrence 1909 – 2012


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1961 Ink Wash – Geneva Limpus

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

 

1GenevaAge60Born 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.

Ink Line - 1960's

Ink Line – 1960’s

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.

Ink Line - 1965

Ink Line – 1965

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1966 Pasadena Star News – Spring Fashion Cover

1970's Ink and Watercolor

1970’s Ink and Watercolor

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.

watercolor

watercolor

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.

Geneva at 90

Geneva at 90

watercolor

watercolor

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.

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Still stylish at 100

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About Justine Limpus Parish

Associate Professor - Art Center College of Design apparel design - Product Design Dept. costume design - Entertainment Design Dept Fashion Instructor: Mt San Antonio College Workshop instructor: Disney Consumer Products
This entry was posted in FASHION & COSTUME ILLUSTRATION and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to A lifetime in Fashion Illustration: Geneva R. Lawrence 1909 – 2012

  1. Shirley Goff says:

    What a wonderful story.

  2. Jeanie Joe says:

    Hi Justine:

    What a fabulous tribute to your dear mother. I loved reading this, and find myself hungry for more. I’m sorry to hear of her passing and hope you are doing well at this time. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you. Thank you for sharing this post with everyone :~)

    My schedule is light at the moment, I am just working on a couple patterns for production. Hope to get together soon.

    (((Hugs)))

    Jeanie

  3. fantastic story and amazing work!

    Pascual

  4. Joanell says:

    What a life, could be a movie. You certainly come by all your wonderful talents from family. I was not aware she had passed, sending condolences and knowing all will be well. Joanell

  5. Dear Justine,

    What a beautiful tribute! I am sorry for your loss. You and your work honor the talented artist that she was. Like mother like daughter! Thanks for sharing this.

    Love, Tziporah

    Sent from my iPhone

  6. Justine, Thank you for sharing your mother’s story. She was so much fun to be around and I was always dazzled by her ability to capture the human figure quickly and beautifully! She was a joy and I count myself lucky to have known her. She was a woman of strength, humor, beauty, creativity…
    Hugs,
    Brenda

  7. Justine,
    This is a wonderful article. Your mother was a remarkable and talented woman whose work represents an important part of our culture. It was fashion art such as hers that shaped my life as a teen living here in southern California and others like me in our generation. I remember her illustrations very well and love seeing them posted here. I hope you can share more with us sometime in the future. May her spirit live long!
    best,
    Jen

  8. Jo Ann Stabb says:

    Hi Justine – Thank you for sharing this wonderful family history and memoir of your mother. So inspiring and filled with love and admiration. No wonder you are so talented with this fabulous DNA !!
    Always with love,
    Jo Ann Stabb

  9. Jacqueline Kelly says:

    Hi Justine,

    What an incredible, (well, yes credible) “post” about your mother, both about her talent and her longetivity in age.  I am sorry about your losing her but pray she is in God’s hands. I see the strong resemblence both in talent and looks. You are both beautiful.

    (I attended two of your fashion drawing classes on South campus in the past).

    Love,

    Jacqueline  

    ________________________________

  10. thank you to all of you who commented and liked this post. I miss her and miss our summer painting workshop trips together.

  11. gayle says:

    What a great tribute and amazing career!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    This is incredible Justine! Thank you so much for sharing the story of your mother and her illustrious career. Very inspiring stuff! I’m glad that you’re able to carry on her tradition!

  13. Wendee Lee says:

    Justine – You must have had great adventures together, indeed! Her creativity and love of art and illustration live on through you. Thank you for sharing all that you do, and in particular this lovely tribute. – Wendee

  14. Jim Burns says:

    Justine—Such beauty and talent your mom had. It was great to have known her and pleased to have had her paint a watercolor picture of me that is now on the cover of my new art book.
    All that talent is now shinning on through you.

    Best Always,
    Jim Burns

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