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About lea nikel

Lea Nikel was born in Ukraine in 1918, immigrated to Palestine when she was two years old. She grew up in Tel Aviv, studied with Gliksberg, Steimatsky and Streichman.

To continue her studies she travelled to Paris where she lived and worked between 1950-1961, a determinant decade in the history of postwar European art.
Nikel was involved in the artistic and social life and in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Paris. Since the 60’s she lived intermittently in Israel, New York, France and in the last years of the decade in Rome. Between 1973 and 1977 Nikel worked in New York, living at the Chelsea Hotel, a well-known hotel and studio with a reputable position in the history of New York art.

From there she retuned to Jaffa. Later on she
built her home with her spouse Sam Leiman in Moshav Kidron.

Nikel is one of the distinctive representatives of the second generation of the abstract painters that were also known as the “Abstract Expressionists”.
Her paintings are characterized by colorfulness, vitality and spontaneity. The main elements in her work are color and materiality and they have formed her unique personal stamp. Nikel uses

many varied techniques: paintbrush, scraping, carving, finger painting, dripping and collage.
Nikel is the winner of Israel Prize for painting in 1995. She was awarded many important prizes such as: Dizengoff Prize on behalf of the Tel Aviv Municipality,
Gamzu Prize from the Tel Aviv Museum, an honorary doctorate from the Weizmann
Institute of Science, Rehovot, a medal from UNESCO for her activity as well as the
Chevalier of Arts and Letters Award by the French Minister of Culture.
She held many solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums all over Israel
and in the major cities around the world: Retrospective in the Tel Aviv Museum, in
the Israel Museum Jerusalem, the Haifa Museum, galleries and museums in Paris, in
The Netherlands, New York, London, Japan and more.
She represented Israel in the Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa, in the 32 nd
Biennale in Venice in 1964 and in the Biennale in Chile.
Lea Nikel passed away in September 2005.

Life Story 

  • 1918 Born in Zhitomir, Ukraina

  • 1920 Immigrated to Israel {Palestine}, grew up in Tel Aviv

  • 1935 Studied for a short while with Chaim Gliksberg

  • 1946-47 studied in the Steimatsky and Streichman studio in Tel Aviv

  • 1950-61 lived and worked in Paris

  • 1961-63 Lived and worked in Ashdod

  • 1963-64 Lived and worked in New York

  • 1964-65 Lived and worked in Ashdod

  • 1965-67 Lived and worked in Safed {Tsefat}

  • 1967-70 Lived and worked in Rome

  • 1970-73 Lived and worked in Tel Aviv

  • 1973-77 Lived and worked in New York

  • 1977-80 Lived and worked in Tel Aviv

  • 1981-2005 Lived and worked in Moshav Kidron
    Lea Nikel passed away on 11 th September 2005.

Life Story 


1968 Prize of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Council for Culture and the Arts, Jerusalem Exhibition

1972 Sandberg Prize, Israel Museum, Jerusalem

1982 Dizengoff Prize, Tel Aviv Municipality

1987 Gamzo Prize, Tel Aviv Museum

1995 Israel Prize for visual arts

1997 Knight of the Order of the Arts and Literature on behalf of the French Foreign Minister

2000 honorary doctorate in philosophy from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot

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