“Officers will listen to witnesses, are looking for more information and are carrying out other inquiries to shed light on the case,” local police said
Police in Brazil have launched an investigation into the death and alleged homicide of a prominent art dealer in New York, according to multiple reports.
Brent Sikkema, who co-owned Sikkema Jenkins & Co, a contemporary art gallery in Manhattan, was found dead in his Rio de Janeiro apartment with apparent stab wounds on his body from a sharp object, according to reports from The New York Times, The Washington Post and Associated Press.
Sikkema’s lawyer, Simone Nunes, told Brazilian newspaper O Globo, per The Post, that she was unable to reach Sikkema over the weekend and decided to go to his apartment to check on him. When she entered, using a key she previously had from house-sitting his apartment, she found him dead. The incident happened on Monday, according to the AP.
Firefighters removed Sikkema’s body from the apartment and it was transported to the Legal Medical Institute in Rio for examination, according to The Post. Police in Brazil told the AP in a statement that they completed forensics work where Sikkema’s body was found and will be continuing their investigation into the incident.
“Officers will listen to witnesses, are looking for more information and are carrying out other inquiries to shed light on the case,” local police said, per the AP.
A state department spokesman confirmed “the death of a U.S. citizen in Rio de Janeiro,” to The Post. “We offer our sincerest condolences to the family. We are providing all appropriate assistance to the family. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment,” they added.
The U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Sikkema Jenkins & Co. art gallery also confirmed the art dealer’s death at the age of 75 on its website, saying, “It is with great sadness that the gallery announces the passing of our beloved founder, Brent Sikkema.”
Sikkema was born in 1948 and raised in Morrison, Illinois, before beginning his gallery work in 1971 as Director of Exhibitions at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, according to a biography on Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
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He then became the Director of Vision Gallery in Boston from 1976 until 1980, and owner from 1980 to 1989, before moving to New York City to open a contemporary art gallery in Soho named Wooster Gardens. The gallery moved to the Chelsea arts district in 1999 and later became known as Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
“The gallery grieves this tremendous loss and will continue on in his spirit,” the company added.
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