Born in Leipzig, Nessler studied at the Castelli Italian School of Art, Dresden 1933-35. He was an opponent of the National Socialists and produced Das Hitler ABC, each letter of which satirised Hitler. He left Germany for England with Prudence Ashbee, the daughter of the British Arts and Crafts designer CR Ashbee, whom he was to marry in 1937.
During WW 2 he was interned at Huyton Camp, Liverpool, where he drew such notable internees as the dealer Erich Cassirer. He later joined the Pioneer Corps and served in France with the 1944 D-day invasion. After the war he worked in London and Paris, where he met figures such as Cocteau, Sartre, Giacometti and Picasso. In 1943 and 1947 he had solo shows at the Leger Gallery in London. His landscapes and townscapes, with their bright colours and bold design, were influenced by the School of Paris. He studied sculpture with Elisabeth Frink at St Martin’s School of Art in London, where he later taught. Latterly Nessler gained recognition in Germany and in 1990 he was made an honorary fellow of the Dresden Academy and Galerie Berlin gave him a solo show which toured.
Nessler’s works are held in the collections of Pallant House Gallery, Chichester and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.