Nicolai Cikovsky was educated in Russia and came of age during a period of momentous cultural, political, and social upheaval. His early studies were undertaken in Russia at the Vilna Art School, the Penza Royal Art School, and Vkhutemas Higher Art and Technical Studies.
He departed Russia in 1923 in the aftermath of the Civil War (1917–1922), Cikovsky remade his career virtually from scratch in New York City. Painting in a semi-Cubist idiom, he exhibited at the Charles Daniel Gallery and, in the early 1930s, the Downtown Gallery and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Primarily a figure and landscape painter, Cikovsky began spending his summers in North Sea, on Long Island’s East End, in 1942, and settled in the region permanently by the early 1970s. resided; their East End homes were the scenes of lively society.
He associated himself with regional artistic circles involving his close colleagues David Burliuk, Moses and Raphael Soyer, and Robert Gwathmey—the group dubbed the “Squiretown Circle” after the name of the street on which both Burliuk and Moses Soyer gatherings and impromptu artistic and political debate. Cikovsky was an integral participant in the Hampton Bays Art Group, a loose association of artists who exhibited together in the region: Burliuk and the Soyers, Milton Avery, George Constant, Arshile Gorky, and others.
- Gregory Galligan