New York art dealer Brent Sikkema has died at age.jpgw1440

New York art dealer Brent Sikkema has died at age 75

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Brent Sikkema, founder of a prominent contemporary art gallery in New York, was confirmed dead by his art gallery on Tuesday. He was 75.

Police in Brazil told CNN Brasil that Sikkema was found dead in his apartment in Rio de Janeiro on Monday. According to CNN, he was found to have stab wounds that could have been caused by, for example, a box cutter or a screwdriver.

“It is with great sadness that the gallery announces the passing of our beloved founder,” art gallery Sikkema Jenkins & Co. said in a statement, adding: “The gallery mourns this tremendous loss and will move forward in his spirit.”

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Scott Briscoe, manager of the gallery, declined to comment beyond the official statement.

Sikkema's lawyer Simone Nunes told Brazilian newspaper O Globo that she tried to contact Sikkema over the weekend but was unable to reach him. She said she found him dead when she entered his house with a key she had with her from the guard when he was away from Rio, the newspaper reported.

According to local reports, firefighters in Rio de Janeiro removed the body from the apartment and took it to the Rio Forensic Medicine Institute. The Washington Post could not independently verify this information.

“We can confirm the death of a U.S. citizen in Rio de Janeiro,” a State Department spokesman said when asked about Sikkema’s death. “We express our sincere condolences to the family. We offer the family all appropriate support. Due to privacy concerns, we have no further comment.”

Sikkema, born in 1948 and raised in Illinois, graduated from the now-closed San Francisco Art Institute, according to a biography on the gallery's website. He began working in art galleries in 1971 as an exhibition director at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY. He later worked as director of the Vision Gallery in Boston from 1976 to 1980 and then became the owner of that gallery from 1980 to 1989.

In 1991, Sikkema moved to New York City and opened his own contemporary art gallery, Wooster Gardens, named after the Wooster Street location. In 1999, the gallery moved to the Chelsea Arts District, where it eventually became Sikkema Jenkins & Co., as it is still called today.

Widely known for representing contemporary Black artists, the gallery represents 32 artists including Kara Walker, Louis Fratino and Sheila Hicks, among others.

Also on the program is Jeffrey Gibson, an artist representing the United States at the 60th Venice Biennale. Gibson, who is of Cherokee descent and a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, will be the first indigenous artist to represent the United States at the event.

Rachel Tashjian contributed to this report.

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