Nicolas's early paintings, exemplified here by a 1966 self-portrait with a piercing stare, recalls Viennese Expressionism of the 1910s, with daubs of ashen blues and grays laid side by side, unblended on the canvas. By the '80s, her people — a couple sunbathing on a beach, religious scenes — seem derivative of the monumental figures Picasso painted during his so-called "classicist period" in the 1920s.
In three 2009 stained-glass pieces, she combines this monumentalism with her father Joep's technique. Rather than strictly copying preliminary sketches, as was traditional in stained glass, he painted freely on the glass and let the lead lines float independently. Nicolas can follow this looseness into a muddle of rainbow hues and meandering black lead. But she imbues her sharper works — like a seated, cross-eyed Madonna cradling a Christ child in a garden under a flaming sun — with the simplicity and awkwardness that echoes the raw humanism of good folk art. And the light gives the glass a holy glow.
: Museum And Gallery
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