Nicole Surkes was born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1951, a town where culture played a major role in everyday life. Her mother, who visited every exhibition, took her along as soon as she could walk so that she could learn about it and discuss it with her.
Her direct encounter with art was in 1967 when 2 pictures of Picasso, that were on long-term loan to the Basel Art Museum should be returned to the owner in order to be sold. The local adult population of Basel voted against buying the artworks thinking they were too expensive. At that point, the students and schoolchildren went on public strike and staged demonstrations and protests all over the city in order to fight for the purchase of the paintings. They won! Since then « Arlequin assis » (1923) and « Les deux frères » (1905) have not only a special place in the Museum but also in the heart of Basel’s citizens.
Next stop was Art Basel, a fair for modern and contemporary art that opened its doors to 90 galleries and 30 publishers from 10 countries for the first time in 1970. It provided her with a minor job, sitting in a booth and handling the boss’s meetings. She bought her first posters. After her studies as translator, she started in tourism, but remained a regular visitor enjoying the most vital art that the world’s best galleries can offer.
Languages and tourism gave her the possibility to travel professionally, but she always took time off to see the local art and artist’s studios. Travelling on three continents she became acquainted with many different works and technics.
For the last 10 years, she has been working in art galleries in Jerusalem, selling pictures, Judaica and jewelry manly from local artist. It made her realize and appreciate how lively and multifaceted the Israel marked is.