In 1938, Nivola married Ruth Guggenheim and was forced to leave Italy, because of the anti-Semite persecutions.
He first escaped to France, then, like many other European intellectuals and artists, went to New York.
The beginnings in New York were very hard for Nivola, until 1941, when he was appointed Art Director for the “Interiors” magazine, where he remained until 1945.
In New York, as in East Hampton where he soon moved to, Nivola found a stimulating cultural environment.
He made friends with many avant-garde artists, especially with the famous architect Le Corbusier, with whom he often shared ideas and most of his stylistic choices.
As the years went by, Nivola’s fame progressively increased.
He dedicated himself especially to architectural decorative plastics, receiving more and more important assignments in this field. His inquisitive genius led to many technical experiments, such as sand-casting (1948-1949), cement casting over moulded sand.