Security camera footage captured outside Brent Sikkema’s residence in Rio de Janeiro in the early hours of Sunday, January 14, shows a possible suspect in the death of the 75-year-old American art dealer, which is being investigated as a homicide.
Sikkema, founder of Sikkema Jenkins & Company gallery in New York City, was found dead in his home on Rua Abreu Fialho in the upscale Jardim Botânico neighborhood on Monday evening. His body had stab wounds that may have been caused by scissors, a box cutter, or a screwdriver, according to preliminary reports.
The videos provided by the security firm Gabriel, which were turned over to Rio’s Civil Police and reviewed by Hyperallergic, show a man exiting a car parked in front of Sikkema’s residence from the passenger side at 3:42 am. The man waits outside the entrance for about a minute before entering the property and emerges 14 minutes later around 3:57 am, removing his gloves, and reenters the car, apparently on the driver’s side. The vehicle drives away at around 4:02 am.
Rio’s Delegacia de Homicídios da Capital (DHC, Capital Homicide Police Station) told Hyperallergic that the time of death has not yet been determined and that no suspects have been identified at this stage.
“The investigation is ongoing,” a spokesperson for the police department said. “Witnesses are being interviewed and efforts are underway to identify the perpetrator of the crime and to clarify the case.”
According to the local news publication O Globo, Sikkema’s lawyer and friend Simone Nunes discovered his body late on Monday night. Nunes could not be reached for comment at press time.
Sikkema founded Sikkema Jenkins & Company, then named Wooster Gardens, in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood in 1991. The gallery moved to its current space on West 22nd Street in Chelsea in 1999 and took on its new name when Michael Jenkins was made partner in 2003. Over the years, Sikkema Jenkins & Company became well known for developing and nurturing a diverse roster of artists including Jeffrey Gibson, Brenda Goodman, Sheila Hicks, and Kara Walker, whose relationship with the gallery goes back decades.
In an interview with O Globo, Nunes said Brent loved Brazil and was applying for a permanent visa. He was a “wonderful person,” she added, emphasizing his kindness, generosity, and commitment to social issues.
Ela Bittencourt contributed reporting.