Artist Statement


Sylvia Nicolas

Whether in her paintings, drawings, sculpture or stained glass, Sylvia Nicolas expresses the humanity of her subjects. This humanistic view, mingled with Nicolas’ versatility in many mediums and a spontaneous creativity, produces art at once delicate, probing and of the highest quality.

“Whatever medium I’m working in is the yeast of the air,” says the Netherlands native who came to the United States in the late 1930s. “I don’t want to become set in preconceived ideas. I want to be open to the spontaneity and accidents of the medium. Very often the medium will tell me where to go.”

Nicolas is the fourth generation of master stained glass artists. Her father, Joep Nicolas, known as “the father of modern stained glass,” was also an accomplished painter, as is his daughter.

Nicolas studied extensively in Europe, and in the U.S. with painter Rufino Tamayo and sculptor Ossip Zadkine. Her works range from stage sets and 24-foot high stained glass windows for churches to terra cotta sculptures that can be held in one hand. All bear the unmistakable stamp of excellence.

Nicolas, also an accomplished costume designer and mosaicist, considers herself a keen observer of human nature. Her works delve into the passions, psychology and humor of the human condition, touching people with their universal appeal.

“Foremost, it is people I am concerned with, in whatever context,” says Nicolas, who makes her home in the small New Hampshire village of Mont Vernon. “I’m a storyteller, really, of mythologies,” whether self-created by contemporary subjects or found in tradition, from ancient Sumerian legends to tales of the Renaissance.

“I feel very much in tune with the history of civilization that is interwoven in this constant fabric which I am living and of which I am a part,” says the artist.

Nicolas calls her work “a mixture of reverence and irreverence,” a respect for life mingled with a questioning of its contradictions.

Ultimately, says the artist, “I would like to be remembered for my humanity.” Artist's Statement CV Stained Glass Gallery Sculpture Gallery In the Studio Contact Home


  • Lycee Francais and Dalton School, New York, NY
  • Private study with Rufino Tamayo and Ossip Zadkine, New York, NY
  • Art Students League, New York, NY
  • Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques, Paris, France
  • Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, Paris, France
  • Worked with Joep Nicolas, Venlo, Netherlands
  • German Institute, Rome, Italy




  • St. Anselm (eight-foot bronze), Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH
  • St. Benedict (six-foot bronze), Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH
  • St. Mark the Evangelist (five-foot Fiberglas) for Church of St. Mark the Evangelist, Londonderry, NH
  • Madonna, Seat of Wisdom (four-and-one-half foot Fiberglas) for St. Andrew’s Abbey, Whippany, NJ
  • St. Joan of Arc (five-foot bronze), Lisle, IL
  • St. Mary Magdalen (seven-foot Fiberglas), Magdalen College, Warner, NH
  • The Reading Children (two bronze statues), the Town Common, Milford, NH
  • Cruxifix (six feet) and Stations of the Cross for St. Dominic Chapel, Providence College, Providence, RI


Stained Glass

  • Salve Regina window at the Cistercian Monastery, Snowmass, CO
  • Thirteen windows in the Church of St. Pancratius, Tubbergen, the Netherlands done for the Four Generations Foundation, completing a church already possessing windows by great-grandfather, grand-father, father, and cousin
  • Windows located in public buildings and churches in the Netherlands and throughout the United States, some in collaboration with Joep Nicolas
  • Ten windows in the Church of the Annunciation, Washington, DC
  • Two large windows for St. Mary’s Chancery, Wichita, KS
  • Twenty-three windows for St.Philip and St. James, New York, NY
  • Tree of Life window for Southern NH Medical Center, Nashua, NH
  • Forty-seven windows for the new St. Dominic Chapel, Providence College, Providence, RI
  • Resurrection Window – All Saints Church, New York City
  • Nineteen windows for St. John’s University, Queens, NY



  • The Creation, Orpheus, Philemon and Baucis, The Legend of St. Dominic, St. Elizabeth, The Resurrection, The Good Shepherd, Mercury, and The Laudate Psalms. Works located in the Netherlands, Germany, and New England


Costume Design

  • Ballet et Choeurs Basques Etorki, Theatre des Champs-Elysees, Paris, Frances
  • La Voleuse de Londres, Stadschouwburg, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • L’Histoire du Soldat, Manchester, NH


Other Media

  • Ceiling fresco for Technical School and painted ceramic tile tympanum over main entrance to Agricultural Institute, Helden-Panningen, Netherlands
  • Concrete reliefs at Sports Centrum and at Dominican Monastery, Venlo, Netherlands



  • One-woman shows and group exhibitions throughout New England
  • One-woman show at the Municipal museum, Roermond, the Netherlands
  • Regular participation in exhibitions throughout the Netherlands, Belguim, Germany, and France



  • Keynote speaker at the International Conference on Environmental Glass, Corning, NY – 1993
  • Lectures on the history and technique of stained glass and mosaics for the New England Garden Club, the Nashua Art Association, the New Hampshire Bar Association, and the American Institute of Architects – 1980s
  • Featured speaker on design at the International Stained Glass Seminar, New York, NY – 1982



  • Awarded an honorary degree as Doctor of Fine Arts by St. Anselm College, Manchester, NH – 1991
  • Awarded an honorary degree as Doctor of Fine Arts by Providence College, Providence, RI – 2001



  • Born in the Netherlands
  • Traveled extensively in Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, Iceland, and the United States
  • Settled in New Hampshire in 1968


Copyright © by Sylvia Nicolas