Text: Paul Labonne
Translation: Nathalie Senecal

Heir to the secrets of a tradition which dates back to the Middle Ages, Guido Nincheri transformed thousands of fragments of antique hand-blown glass into original stained glass windows. Considered to be one of the principal masters of stained glass in Canada, he earned many distinctions. On April 6 1933, Pope Pius XI appointed Nincheri Knight-Commander of the Order of Saint-Sylvester, thereby acknowledging him as one of the great artists of the Church. In 1972, he was named Knight of the Republic in his Italian homeland. Twenty years later, Nincheri was given the posthumous title of Builder of the City of Montreal.

Master of Stained Glass and Frescoes, born in Prato, a Tuscan city renowned for its textiles, Guido Nincheri studied painting, drawing and architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. It was there that the master Adolfo De Carolis taught him the technique of fresco painting.

In 1914, Nincheri and his new wife, Guilia, embarked on a trip for Argentina to visit some former class-mates. The outbreak of the first World War forced the couple to stay in Boston, their first port of call, where Nincheri obtained a contract to decorate the city's Opera House. Six months later, the Nincheris emigrated to Montreal.

Known as the city of a hundred church bells, Canada's metropolis was booming. Several new Catholic parishes, mostly French Canadian, were founded during this period. All the new church building created a great demand for the skills and reputation of European artists and artisans.

Nincheri's first contract in Montreal was the interior decoration of Saint-Viateur d'Outremont church. He also assisted the stained-glass artist Henri Perdriau (Angers, 1877 - Montreal, 1850), by drawing the paper designs for the transept windows which illustrate the Immaculate Conception (left transept window) and the Eucharistic Conference of Montreal, in 1910 (right transept window). It seems likely that Perdriau was the one to introduce Guido Nincheri to the art of stained glass. In 1921, Nincheri opened his own stained glass studio on the ground floor of 1832 Pie-IX Boulevard in space lent to him by his patrons, Marius and Oscar Dufresne, two pillars of Montreal's francophone bourgeoisie.

Nincheri devoted most of his long and productive career to the making of religious art and there are few known examples of his secular work, but two major exceptions stand out: the interior decoration of the Chateau Dufresne, built by the Dufresne brothers in the 1920's and the interior decoration of the Roger Williams Park Natural History Museum, in Providence Rhode Island where Nincheri lived towards the end of his life. Guido Nincheri died in Providence on March 1st, 1973, at the age of 87.

Portrait of Guido Nincheri (B&W)

The art of Guido Nincheri 1999
Welcome] [Biography] [Stained Glass] [Fresco] [Decorations]
[collections] [glossaries] [church list] [bibliography] [team/credits]