A brief bio of Geneva Patterson

undated photo portrait of Geneva but should be around her graduation

Geneva was born in Commerce, Missouri, a Mississippi river town that merited its name in the steamship era. The family moved up to St. Louis when she was two, and she grew up in the Central West End. G was graduated from Marquette School and then attended Central High : destroyed in the tornado of 1927. Although that meant commuting to another school, her class apparently retained its identity.

G was already recognized for her art in high school. Her yearbook entry reads, "In Central they are an essential part - Geneva Abbott and her art." She was selected to make a drawing for the yearbook of what St. Louis would be in future; see the Psychic Artist section below!

After being graduated from Central in the January Class of 1933 - early, at 16 - she studied Commercial Art at Hadley Vocational School for two and a half years ("one of the finest, most elaborate, and most luxurious vocational schools for whites," recalls Judge Theodore McMillian). She took evening classes in Fine Arts at Washington University. She then worked nine years in commercial art and advertising for the International Shoe Company.

Geneva and her two sisters attended Giddings-Boyle Presbyterian Church, where G enjoyed being in the youth group, responsible for putting out the weekly church bulletin. That is where she met Donald Patterson, whom she wed in 1939.

Geneva became active in the Society of Independent Artists of St. Louis while she worked to qualify for the Artists' Section of the St. Louis Artists' Guild, which she was invited to join in 1957. After leaving International Shoe, Geneva had turned her efforts entirely to fine arts. G was a valued officer of the clubs and societies she joined; she kept good minutes, good accounts, and ran meetings according to Roberts' Rules of Order in a very businesslike way. She always showed initiative in fostering new art events, to give more artists the opportunity to show, and to involve the community, and to encourage high standards in art. While she worked hard for many art fairs, juried shows were her personal preference. She organized and served as juror on outdoor art exhibitions, and was active with the Ruth Kelso Renfrow Club, the Monday Club, and the Craft Alliance Gallery.

G at Easter, probably 1944, in front of her mother's house at 4356 West Pine Ave (purchased Sep 1942)

Geneva was always an active artist, interested in experimentation and in expanding her range of skills and techniques. She participated in many professional workshops, such as: enameling, with Kenneth Bates in Gatlinburg; watercolor with George Post at Mendocino, with Tony Couch in Georgia, and with Millard Sheets, Jade Fon, and Jane Burnham at Asilomar. She studied oil painting under Val Vogel, enameling with Dorothy Farley, and portraiture with Fred Carpenter and with Virginia Schlueter.

One of the ways Geneva contributed to her community was to offer portrait sketches at school and church fairs. Many parents were delighted to get a charming portrait at the very modest cost these fund-raisers asked for. She also offered occasional art workshops and demonstrations to schools, children's camps, and scouting groups.

For many years, G and Don enjoyed the annual costume ball held by the Society of Independent Artists, always booking a table or more with non-artist friends who liked to join in the fun at the Chase.

G and her husband Don both loved to travel, and took several trips each year, providing scenes and inspiration for many paintings. They were also avid bridge players, and participated in many duplicate bridge tournaments. A life master, Geneva sometimes held the highest rank in her state.

Geneva and Don relocated to Hilton Head Island in 1980 when he retired. There, she served on the board of the Hilton Head Art League and was president of the Friends of the Library. She got art exhibits started at the library and continued to be the organizer for many years. She participated yearly in the island's charity auction Evening of the Arts, and was a member of the Beaufort Art Association and the Sea Pines Community Center. On Hilton Head, she held a solo and a two-artist exhibition, and showed annually with the Low Country Artists. Geneva attended Spring Made Beach watercolor workshops as well as workshops on the island. While in St. Louis, GG's work was accepted into all the juried exhibitions she entered, but once in SC, most of the exhibitions were non-competitive. She did, however, receive many commissions which kept her as active for private clients as she was for the group shows.

undated photo of Geneva

In 2002, Geneva and Don moved to Vero Beach, Florida. The move from Hilton Head took quite a toll on Geneva, who had wanted to pack up her own studio. After arriving in Vero, she suffered from shingles for months. She was never up to joining the artist commununity in Florida, and had no studio to work in. During summer visits to Pat in Virginia, Geneva could make use of a studio set up, and produced some more watercolors, a few small oils, and some sketches. Then, having broken her hip in the early hours of her 93rd birthday, Geneva agreed after being discharged from rehab to return to Virginia with Pat. Don followed in May, and the move became permanent. G did not show art in Virginia, but some of her paintings have been sold to people who have viewed them at Heaven Scent B&B.

Geneva's works are in many private collections - and anyone who can supply a photograph of her work, for this site, is asked to do so.

Geneva passed away peacefully at home with Pat and Don on March 19, 2011, a month after her 95th birthday. Don lived on (with Pat) to July 2012; Don and G had celebrated 71 years of marriage together.

The Psychic Artist

Way Back in 1933 Schoolgirl Drew Picture of Arch in Yearbook

Fifteen years before the Gateway Arch was so much as a gleam in architect Eero Saarinen's eye, a St. Louis schoolgirl, asked to visualize the city of the future, drew a remarkably accurate picture of today's riverfront - complete with Arch.

The extraordinarily prophetic drawing adorned a center gatefold spread covering two pages in the 1933 Central High School yearbook, "The Red and the Black." It was signed by the artist, Geneva Abbott.

GENEVA, a member of that year's graduating class, made the drawing to illustrate the yearbook theme - "A Look into the Future."

She showed a St. Louis riverfront cleared of all structures but the Old Cathedral and the Old Courthouse, and framed by a great arch which any St. Louisan today would unhesitatingly identify as Saarinen's masterpiece - designed in 1948.

The arch in the 1933 drawing isn't just an arch. It is neither vague nor nondescript. It's the Gateway Arch as it stands today, to the life - even to the sharply triangular bases and leg conformation.

A further coincidence is that the drawing was made in the spring of 1933. It was in April, 1933, that the late Luther Ely Smith Sr. first publicly proposed that a riverfront development of some kind be launched - but 15 years before Eero Saarinen hit on the prize-winning idea of a stainless steel catenary arch as the central motif.

In the drawing's upper left corner, the youthful artist reproduced the lines from Tennyson's "Ulysses" that inspired her to choose an arch as the most prominent feature of her composition:

Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.

The 35-year-old yearbook was brought to the attention of the Globe-Democrat by another member of the class of '33, Mrs. William F. Koehler, 11056 Ayrshire dr., Maryland Heights, the former Miss Auralia Caran.

Mrs. Koehler notes that a fellow student was David Margulois, who left St. Louis to become famous in the theatrical world as the producer-actor David Merrick.

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 25-26, 1966

Newspaper Clippings

Artist Geneva Patterson Wins First Prize at Show

Winners of the winter show, now on display at Kiel Auditorium, were announced yesterday. Geneva Patterson for "Bosun's Locker."

Fred Carpenter won second prize with his work entitled "Two of Us", and third prize went to Esther S. Reed for "Winter." The contest was judged by members of the organization. The exhibit includes 60 painting from 55 artists in the St. Louis area.

The paintings included oil and water colors, representational and modern styles. The show will continue through Feb. 23.


Curtain Call Spotlight

Geneva Patterson, whose recent watercolors are currently on display at St. Luke's Hospital West is a painter and enamelist. Her activities in the St. Louis art scene have included Chairman of the Art Section of the St. Louis Artists' Guild and a former Board member, Past President of the Independent Artists of St. Louis, a member of the exclusive St. Louis Women Artists and the R.K.R. Club. She is represented in international, private and business collections and is the winner of numerous exhibition prizes.

May 1977

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Girls attending Polaris Brownie Day Camp, in Bellefontaine Neighbors, will observe "Christmas in July" on Tuesday. The Brownies will sing carols, decorate a living tree and exchange gifts which they have made.

Mrs. Geneva Patterson, a professional artist, is giving the campers lessons in charcoal sketching and tempera painting.

Sun., Jul 16, 1961

Final Gallery Exhibition by Women

Art created from a woman's perspective will be featured at an upcoming exhibit at The Gallery Downstairs. "Intuition: Woman in Art" will include paintings, drawings, enamels and jewelry by female artists from Southern Illinois and St. Louis. The dates for the show are August 13 to September 13.

Visitors will discover that each of these artists has a strong individual style. The airbrush paintings of Ann Metzger of St. Louis possess a light, airy quality. Mostly abstract in subject matter, they are executed in bold pastel hues which immediately capture the viewer's attention.

More traditional in form are the portraits by Jane Pettus, also of St. Louis. Her sensitive figure studies are quite warm and full of personality.

Ilah Fulton can also be considered a traditional painter, and yet she brings to her still life scenes none of the "heaviness" which is traditionally associated with oil painting. They seem to glow from within. Mrs. Fulton is from Greenup.

A third St. Louis artist, Geneva Patterson, will be exhibiting a stunning and unusual collection of copper enamel work. Also featured at this time will be line drawings by Kathy Ann Taylor of Greenville, and handcrafted silver jewelry by Sue Shrode of Mt. Vernon.

"Intuition" can be viewed at the Gallery, 214 North Third street, daily from 8 to 5 and on Saturday afternoons from 1 to 5. This is the final exhibition scheduled to appear at the Gallery Downstairs.

The Greenville Advocate (IL) likely 1966

Hathaway-Riverview News

Mr. and Mrs. Don Patterson and children, 10 Quinton Hill Ct., have just returned from a spring vacation in Florida. Motoring on a tour of the northern part of Florida, the Pattersons spent some time on the beach at Pensacola, at Cyprus Gardens, spent three days at Daytona Beach, and three days on Treasure Island. Ronnie and Patti, who attend Riverview Elementary School, enjoyed sightseeing along the way. The family returned April 14.

Mrs. Patterson has just been re-elected first vice president of the Society of Independent Artists of St. Louis. Mr. Patterson's father, Edward Patterson, returned last week from a month's illness in the hospital. He is recuperating at the Patterson home.

May 10, 1961

Independent Artists Prize Winners Named

Prize-winners in the annual no-jury show of the St. Louis Society of Independent Artists, now current at Kiel Auditorium Refectory, are: Geneva Patterson for her watercolor, "Old Red Barn"; Charles A. Morgenthaler, oil, "Dinner Bell in the Ozarks"; Alice P. Ulbright, oil, "Horseweeds"; Virginia Moberly Schlueter, pastel, "Boat House"; Douglas Brown, watercolor, "Guitar Player"; Leona A.R. Ottofy, oil, "November"; Victor Joseph Kunz, watercolor, "Invasion".

Government bonds were the prizes. Honorable mentions went to Oliver Steidemann, Ruth Menendez, Paul G. Tirmenstein, Helen Koch, Edwin B. Gustavson and Margaret R. Kirchner.

published November 7, 1956

Art Show Saturday at Petit Pigalle

A six-woman art show will open Saturday at the Petit Pigalle Galleries, 4207 Lindell bl., and will continue through the month. Participating will be Laura LeMoine, Alice Ulbright, Carmen Bahr Kress, Jane Bakelor, Geneva Patterson and Ruth Menendez.

All are well-known St. Louis artists and each will have on view five examples of her work, in oils, watercolors, pastel and other media, painted especially for this exhibition.



Four-Woman Show is at Artists' Guild

Bright, Spirited Exhibit Marks End of Group's Current Season
by George McCue

For its closing exhibition of the current season, the Artists' Guild is showing works that seem to be asserting insistently, and convincingly, that women can, too, put oomph in painting.

The four-woman show by Carmen Bahr Kress, Ruth Menendez, Geneva Patterson and Alice Pearcy Ulbright fills both galleries of the hall at 812 Union boulevard. It is spirited and bright, with quiet interludes here and there. The first three artists are housewives, although Mrs. Menendez formerly taughtan adult education art class at University City High School. Mrs. Ulbright teaches art at Ferguson High School. The show runs through May 30.

Most of Mrs. Kress's works are in her characteristic heavily built-up paint surface style. Entering the large gallery, the visitor passes between her "Bouquet," which makes a rather massive construction project out of a vase of flowers, presenting them as bold designs in muted colors, and her "Calypso," a strident swirl of colors and textures.

Prominently in view across the room is her "Holiday," a deep-textured blur of banners, buildings and marching people that calls to mind the Monet "National Holiday, Rue Montorgueil," exhibited here last fall. The Kress banners are given prominence, and the point of view is at street level. Her "Gladiolas" shows dextrous palette knife work in the development of petals on long stalks.

Another commanding oil in the entranceway is Mrs. Patterson's "Circus Riders," with its performers standing on prancing horses in a vivid glare of red-orange light. Her "Abacus" treats the ancient counting device as a dramatic composition in black on white, a design as carefully considered as a Mondrian abstraction. "Parade," in watercolor, is another version of banners and marchers, this time in a fairly loose, flowing view of a broad front rank. "River Town" has buildings and water in a cool, twilight haze. "Intermission" is a small oil of a ballet dancer, seated on the floor and framing a background view of the stage door.

"Merry-Go-Round" is Mrs. Ulbright's most prominent work, with its scene of brilliant lights and animated confusion under a glittering canopy. Her "Neighborhood" is a partly abstract grouping of houses, outbuildings, fences and streets, and a more formal cityscape is in "Late Afternoon", with shafts of light falling across a facade of rowhouses.

The outstanding abstraction in the show is "Alone, Alone," by Mrs. Menendez, which places a white pyramidal shape in a subtly lighted vastness of deep purple. Her "Fast Track" is a watercolor snapshot of horses rounding a turn, and her "Sea Gulls" is a composition of black wingstrokes in watrcolor on very wet paper.

A print show of unusual interest is the display of French and Italian graphics at the Three Arts Shop, at 6501 Delmar boulevard. The prints range from Daumier to the present, and include Roualt, Degas, Derain, Maillol, Matisse, Leger, Campigli, Chagall, Florini and others.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 22, 1958

Geneva kept a record of her works in this show, which opened on May 18, 1958. Sadly, there is no photographic record of any.


  1. Circus Riders
  2. Abacus
  3. River Town
  4. Re
  5. Quarry
  6. Dancer Resting

Water Colors

  1. Aerial Suspension
  2. Bottles in a Window
  3. Dancer
  4. Parade
  5. Hill Billy Bargain Store
  6. Tulips by Pond
  7. Wharf Scene
  8. Onions & Artichoke
  9. Country Road