In Stiring-Wendel, a middle School bears his name. However, few people know the career and the considerable work of Nicolas Untersteller… His story begins in Stiring-Wendel, the city where he was born on March 26, 1900. He is the eldest of a sibling who will have seven children.
Very young, he showed promising artistic gifts.
His mother is a factory worker, his father a house painter. Very young, he will show promising artistic gifts. After difficult times when he had to resolve to work as a worker in the factories of Sarre and Moselle, then as a house painter, he finally joined the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg at the age of 21.
Director of the Beaux-Arts of Paris
There, the artist reveals all his genius, which will allow him to continue at the Beaux-Arts, in Paris, a school which he will also direct from 1948 until his death. Initially illustrating himself in painting, Untersteller was awarded the Grand Prix de Rome in 1928 for his painting Country Concert.
But it is for his frescoes and stained glass windows that the artist will be recognized. He is notably the author of the 1,000 m² of stained glass windows of the Sainte-Thérèse-de-l’Enfant-Jésus church in Metz or of those of the church of Gravelotte. He creates frescoes in many religious buildings, such as murals in Sainte-Barbe iron church in Crusnes but also in public buildings such as the Moselle prefecture. The Messin painter Camille Hilaire will be one of the dozens of students he will train in his life.
Several times decorated
Untersteller will be decorated with numerous titles: Officer of the Legion of Honor, Croix de Guerre 1939-1945, Commander of Arts and Letters, Officer of the National Order of Merit, etc. In the 1960s, a college was built in downtown Stiring-Wendel. Inaugurated in 1970, the city decided to honor the memory of Nicolas Untersteller, who died suddenly in 1967, by giving him his name. It was then the first college in the region to have a pool in its enclosure, located in the basement. The building will become the current school of the Center since the new Untersteller college was built in 1972 rue George-Bizet.