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Police in Brazil are now pushing for the arrest of Daniel Sikkema, the estranged husband of New York dealer Brent Sikkema, in connection with the latter’s murder in Rio de Janeiro last month, according to reports by Folha de S.Paulo and The New York Times.

Brent Sikkema, the founder of Chelsea-based gallery Sikkema Jenkins & Co, was found stabbed to death in his Rio apartment on 15 January. On 18 January police arrested a suspect, Alejandro Triana Prevez, a Cuban national known to the Sikkemas. According to Brazilian media reports, Prevez has claimed that Daniel Sikkema offered to pay him $200,000 to kill Brent Sikkema and sent him a key in order to access the victim’s apartment. At the time of the murder, the Sikkemas were engaged in a nearly two-year-long divorce dispute, including a feud over custody of their teenage son. The Sikkemas had been married for almost 15 years.

A lawyer for Daniel Sikkema told the Times her client was “shocked” by the latest developments in the case, adding: “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.”

Brent Sikkema was born in 1948 and raised in Illinois. After attending the San Francisco Art Institute, he was hired as the exhibitions director at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, in 1971. He worked at Vision Gallery in Boston between 1976 and 1989. After relocating to New York City in 1981, he founded his own contemporary art gallery in Soho, then called Wooster Gardens. The gallery moved to Chelsea in 1999 and later changed its name to Sikkema Jenkins & Co, with Michael Jenkins becoming a partner in 2003.

Sikkema Jenkins & Co is one of New York’s most prominent galleries, and notably represents Jeffrey Gibson, who will represent the US at this year’s Venice Biennale. The gallery has also worked with artists like Sheila Hicks, Vik Muniz, Kara Walker, Maria Nepomuceno and Louis Fratino.

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