(American born Italy, 1871 - 1954)
The muralist, painter, and stained glass designer Nicola D’Ascenzo was born in Torricella, Italy, and studied art in Rome. He immigrated to the United States in 1882 and settled in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. D’Ascenzo studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and attended the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art from 1891 to 1893, where he simultaneously taught mural decoration until 1894. At that time he resigned to travel abroad; his position was filled by the noted illustrator Maxfield Parrish (1870–1966). D’Ascenzo’s wife, Myrtle Dell Goodwin (1864–1954), taught applied design there from 1886 to 1894. D’Ascenzo ran a thriving interior design studio in Philadelphia for many years, making stained glass for private residences, churches, and businesses in the area and throughout the United States. Among his best-known works are the windows for the Folger Shakespeare Library and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Riverside Church in New York, the Washington Memorial Chapel at Valley Forge, and the “Nipper window” in one of the old RCA-Victor buildings in Camden, New Jersey. He was a member of numerous art clubs and organizations such as the Fairmount Park Art Association, the Philadelphia Society of Etchers, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Arts and Crafts Guild of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Sketch Club. D’Ascenzo often summered in Massachusetts, where he was a member of the Rockport Art Association. The Athenaeum of Philadelphia owns the archives of the D’Ascenzo Studios, including a collection of his drawings.