Along with Konrad Mägi and Ants Laikmaa, Nikolai Triik is among the most important artists of the beginning of the 20th century whose work led to a breakthrough in Estonian art. Triik was closely associated with the cultural grouping Noor-Eesti (Young Estonia, it consisted mostly of writers), which was active primarily during the first decade of the 20th century and set making Estonia’s culture more modern and international as its motto. In this they succeeded. Triik’s creative work of that time brings together both nationalist aspirations and international influences. He travelled a great deal and among others spent longer periods of time in St. Petersburg, Norway, Paris, Berlin and elsewhere.
Starting in the 1920’s, Triik was active mostly as a teacher at the Pallas Art School.