Obama Pal And NYC Gallery Owner Found Stabbed To Death In His Own Home

 January 17, 2024

A tragic loss has shocked the art world today.

Brent Sikkema, a renowned art gallery owner and a friend to the Obamas, was found dead in his Brazilian home.

Sikkema, aged 75, was discovered in his residence in the upscale Jardim Botânico neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. The incident, which occurred late Monday evening, is currently under investigation as a robbery turned violent. Sikkema's death has sent ripples through the international art community, marking a sorrowful chapter in the industry's history.

Prominent Art Figure's Untimely Demise

Sikkema was the co-owner of the influential Sikkema Jenkins & Co. gallery, a staple in New York City's contemporary art scene. Throughout his career, he nurtured the talents of a diverse group of artists, including the likes of Anohia, Tony Feher, and Jennifer Packer. His gallery, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., expressed their deep sorrow in a public statement, highlighting the profound impact of his loss.

The police are meticulously combing through the evidence, determined to uncover the circumstances of his death. Rio de Janeiro's Capital Homicide Police have assured the public that they are actively seeking witnesses and information. A report from the department indicates that all necessary measures are being taken to clarify this unsettling case.

Simone Nunes, Sikkema's lawyer, who took care of the house, found him after he did not attend a scheduled meeting. Her discovery has prompted an intensive police investigation. The authorities are considering the possibility that the incident was an attempted robbery that tragically escalated to murder.

A Life Steeped in Art and Culture

Sikkema's passion for art was his profession and a way of life. His career in the art industry dates back to 1971, and he has been at the helm of his gallery from 1980 until 1989. Known for his keen eye and dedication, Sikkema played a pivotal role in shaping the NYC art scene for decades.

He had made Rio de Janeiro a second home, purchasing a property there ten years ago and regularly visiting. The city's vibrant culture and art scene were said to be close to his heart. His passing has left both the New York and Rio de Janeiro art communities in mourning.

Sikkema is survived by his husband and their 12-year-old son, leaving behind a family and a legacy in the art world. Artists and friends have come forward to pay tribute to his character and contributions. Notably, artist Vik Muniz reflected on Sikkema's commitment to diversity within the art world.

Reflections From Friends and Colleagues

In remembering Brent Sikkema, his colleagues and friends paint a picture of a man deeply respected and beloved. Simone Nunes described him as "a wonderful person, very kind, generous, defender of social issues." Such personal testaments highlight the character of the man behind the gallery.

Artist Vik Muniz provided a poignant reflection on Sikkema's influence. Muniz credited Sikkema with being one of the first gallery owners to promote a diverse roster of artists.

Luiz Zerbini, another artist who admired Sikkema, remembered him as "passionate about Brazilian art, with a wonderful sense of humor, a happy person." These heartfelt words underscore the personal loss felt by many in the wake of Sikkema's death.


The art world has been left reeling from the untimely death of Brent Sikkema, whose life and work have left an indelible mark on the industry. He was celebrated for his contributions to contemporary art and commitment to fostering diverse talent.

The investigation into his tragic passing continues, with authorities pursuing all leads in what is suspected to be a robbery gone wrong. Sikkema's legacy is carried forward by his family, the gallery he founded, and the countless artists and individuals he influenced.

His impact on the art scenes in both New York and Brazil will be remembered as both communities come to terms with this profound loss.

About Robert Cunningham

With years of experience at the forefront of political commentary, Robert Cunningham brings a blend of sharp wit and deep insight to his analysis of American principles at the Capitalism Institute.

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