At Large  February 13, 2024  Rebecca Schiffman

After Renowned Art Dealer Brent Sikkema’s Death, Brazilian Police Seek Husband’s Arrest

Courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

Brent Sikkema.

Last month, the death of prominent art dealer Brent Sikkema, who was 75 years old, sent shockwaves through the art world. Sikkema, the co-owner of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., was found stabbed to death on January 15 in his apartment in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian police have been investigating the murder and announced on February 12 that they are seeking the arrest of his husband, Daniel Sikkema.

Sikkema founded his gallery in Soho in 1991 under the name Wooster Gardens and later moved to Chelsea, brought on business partners, and changed its name to Sikkema Jenkins & Co.. The gallery represents a host of the world's most renowned artists, many of whom owe Sikkema their successes. The roster includes Kara Walker, Vik Muniz, Sheila Hicks, and Jeffrey Gibson, who is representing the United States at the Venice Biennale in 2024.

Since Sikkema's death, many artists and collectors have come forward to share their memories and commemorate him. Artist Kara Walker, whose career has been intricately linked to Sikkema since the 1990s, took to Instagram to share her thoughts: “You never left my side always believing in me never directing me….I keep trying—but how big is the home you built for me? How big is your heart?” 

David Velasco, former editor at Artforum, wrote “He was a real one, by which I mean a rare one you could be real with. I love you friend, and I’ll miss you terribly.”

Daniel Sikkema was in New York at the time of the murder, according to the New York Times. Surveillance footage revealed that Sikkema’s former bodyguard, Alejandro Triana Prevez, entered and exited the apartment that night, and he was immediately taken into custody. In a statement to the Times, Prevez’s lawyer, Gregorio Andrade, said that his client claims Daniel Sikkema offered him $200,000 to assassinate Brent Sikkema. Mr. Andrade said, “He manipulated my client.” 

The Daily Mail reported that Prevez alleged that Daniel Sikkema mailed him a key to their home, where the murder took place. They also reported that the Rio de Janeiro police and the Public Ministry filed an order with the state’s court seeking Daniel Sikkema’s arrest. They are allegedly in touch with the U.S. Department of Justice as well. 

Daniel Sikkema’s lawyers claim he is innocent, stating “It’s important to note that Daniel was not given an opportunity to be heard by police, despite proactively offering himself for questioning via email.” 

Daniel, whose birth name is Daniel Garcia Carrera, is a self-described former escort who emigrated to the United States from Cuba and documented his life in the autobiography, Ticket to Paradise. Brent and Daniel were married for almost 15 years, but were in the midst of divorce proceedings, which began in 2022 and included a custody battle over their now-14-year-old son.

You can read the gallery's tribute to Brent Sikkema here

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