born in Zhitomir, Ukraine, immigrated to Israel in 1920 and settled in Tel Aviv.
Nikel studied art with artists such as Stematsky, Streichman and Gliksberg.
in 1950 Nikel moved to Paris, where she worked among artists as Kremegne and Hannah Orloff. she lived in Paris un a desicive decade in history of European postwar art and for the destiny of Paris, its cultural scene and art market. Paris in that time was a place of gathering for many artists, among them Israelis, such as Hannah Ben Dov, Michael Argov and Avigdor Arikha.
it was in Paris, where Nikel started to develop her artistic style, an abstract expressionism called Tachisme, a European version of the American action painting (in French: tache= color stain).
in the 60's Nikel moved to New York and then settled in Rome. she came back to Israel in 1979.
Lea Nikel is one of the distinctive representatives of the second generation of the abstract art that flowered after the end of the Second World War. She belongs to the family of young artists known as the Abstract Expressionists who have renounced the language of defined, stylized and predetermined forms and created a new and quite complex idiom that blends together a spontaneity located somewhere between the conscious and the subconscious.
Nikel started out from the "abstract sentence" of Zaritsky, Streichman and Stematsky but she formulated her own unique language, she did not remain within its safe or historical bounds, but burst thought these and continued. She did not remain in the myth of the Israeli abstract, enchanted primal territory and did not agree to live and work in the frame work of life- span of this enchantment.
for further reading:
- Ken Johnson, "Lea Nikel, Abstract Painter and One of Israel's Top Artists, Dies at 86", The New York Times, 1.10.2005 >>link to the full article
-Michael Sgan- Cohen, Lea Nikel, exhibition catalogue, 1995, Tel Aviv Museum of art.
Original artworks by Lea Nikel can be found at the Engel Galleries Israeli art collection.