Nina Kestler was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on 21 April 1904. The family moved to Brussels. In 1921 the young woman entered the École Supérieure de Jeunes Filles, under the patronage of the University of Leuven. From the very first year she won prizes, some of them first and with distinction, before obtaining a degree in literature and archaeology.
From 1931 onwards she attended art classes at the Academy of Ixelles, where she once again won first prizes, again more than one with distinction, and then at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. There Nina met Julien Lefèvre. During the Second World War, Nina, accompanied by her future husband, went to the assembly centre for Belgian refugees in Poitiers, where she was in charge of the employment office. Back in Brussels, she and Julien Lefèvre, who became her husband, lived in a flat until the Liberation.
Established in Luxembourg, Nina and Julien Lefèvre worked for the reconstruction and restored or contributed to the creation of numerous stained glass windows, such as in Wasserbillig, Eschweiler / Wiltz, Weicherdange, Doennange, Marnach and Hupperdange. In the competition for a postage stamp in honour of Our Lady of Luxembourg, Nina Lefèvre was ranked first, but another competitor was chosen. Dejected, Nina Lefèvre almost loses heart, but thanks to the moral support of her husband, who becomes the most highly-rated medallist in the Grand Duchy, she gets back to work, while withdrawing into herself. She devoted herself to portraits, still lifes, dead flowers and landscapes. She once said: "My work is my open heart".
Her works, largely hidden from the general public, are reserved for the admiration of intimates, except during her rare exhibitions, both in the Grand Duchy and abroad. The great retrospective of 1979 of the couple's combined works at the Galerie Municipale de Peinture de Luxembourg and the magnificent publication produced on this occasion made it possible to ratify this judgement of the experts, a judgement confirmed by the award to Nina Lefèvre of the high distinction of Commander of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Nina Lefèvre died on 7 October 1981 in Luxembourg City.
● D'letzebuerger Land - 16 October 1981
● D'letzebuerger Land - 8 October 1982