Lea Nikel

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Lea Nikel
Lea Nikel.jpg
Photograph of Lea Nikel, 1979
Photographer: Stanley I. Batkin
Born 1918
Zhitomir, Ukraine
Died 2005 (aged 86–87)
Nationality Israeli, Jewish
Known for Painting
Movement Israeli art

Lea Nikel (Hebrew: לאה ניקל‎‎; born 1918, died 2005) was an Israeli abstract artist.[1]


Lea Nikel (Lea Nikelsberg) was born in Zhitomir, Ukraine, in 1918. Her family immigrated to British-administered Palestine in 1920. She had one sister, Sara (Bock), who was born in 1926. She began studying with painter Chaim Gliksberg in Tel Aviv in 1935, later studying with Yechezkel Streichman and Avigdor Stematsky. From 1961 to 1977, Nikel lived in Greenwich Village (one year), Rome (three years) and New York (four years), before returning to Israel in 1977. She was married to Sam Leiman and had one daughter, Ziva Hanan. She lived in Moshav Kidron.[2]

Artistic career[edit]

Nikel held her first solo exhibition at Chemerinsky Art Gallery in Tel Aviv and her first solo show in Paris at Galerie Colette Allendy in 1957. She took part in numerous international group exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale in 1964. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art organized a retrospective exhibition of her paintings in 2005. Nikel continued to paint until just a few days before her death in September 2005.[2]

Artistic style[edit]

Nikel's style was a form of expressionistic abstraction sometimes called lyrical abstraction. She painted with a brusque, generous touch and favored high-keyed colors. She was known for buoyant compositions consisting of rough-edged blocks of color and scribbly, calligraphic lines that together conveyed a sense of imaginative excitement and urgent sensuousness.[2]


  • In 1972, she was awarded the Sandberg Prize for Israeli Art from the Israel Museum.
  • In 1982, Nikel was awarded the Dizengoff Prize for Painting.[3]
  • In 1985, she was awarded a medal from the UNESCO workshop on experimental activities in Nice, France.
  • In 1987, she won the Gamzo Award.
  • In 1995, she was awarded the Israel Prize, for painting.[4]
  • In 1997, she was made a Chevalier of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gilerman, Dana (13 September 2007). "The birth of a new generation". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Ken Johnson (1 October 2005). "Lea Nikel, Abstract Painter and One of Israel's Top Artists, Dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "List of Dizengoff Prize laureates" (PDF) (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv Municipality. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 17, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site - Recipients in 1995 (in Hebrew)". Archived from the original on 2008-12-27. 

External links[edit]