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April 11, 2021
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Romania buys Brancusi’s “La Sagesse de la Terre’ but lacks whole sum needed for purchase

Constantin Brancusi’s ‘La Sagesse de la Terre’ sculpture will remain in the possession of the Romanian state, after its owners accepted an offer for EUR 11 M, Culture Minister Vlad Alexandrescu announced on Wednesday evening.

“The owners of Constantin Brancusi’s ‘La Sagesse de la Terre’ accepted the EUR 11 M offer proposed by the negotiations commission chaired by me and tasked by the Romanian Government. Of that sum, the Romanian Government will pay EUR 5 M and for the remainder the Culture Ministry will launch a national public subscription. The details of the subscription campaign will be announced in the upcoming period,” Vlad Alexandrescu wrote on Facebook.

In recent months, the Culture Minister took part in several rounds of talks with the owners of Brancusi’s masterpiece, which is part of a private collection. The two sides had previously failed to reach an agreement on the price, TVR informs.

Lawyer Bogdan Grabowski, the representative of the sculpture’s owners, stated on Thursday that the Culture Minister did not negotiate with the state’s money on the table, but with the money of art lovers instead, referring to the “national public subscription” that the minister invoked on Wednesday, adding that the work of art’s owners are disappointed.

“The negotiations were carried out on certain terms that, it seems, are now no longer respected by the Culture Minister. He stated that the money exist in the budget and they will be fully paid. Following his announcement, we find out that he wants to launch a national public subscription,” Bogdan Grabowski stated for news.ro. “It’s as if he wanted to count his chickens before they are hatched,” he said.

The sculpture’s owners met a new negotiations commission on Monday, led by Culture Minister Vlad Alexandrescu and including secretary of state Mihai Ghyka, representatives from the Finance and Justice Ministries and a representative of civil society.

“What will happen if these six million Euros will not be collected?” the lawyer asked, adding that the owners of the Brancusi sculpture are waiting for new talks with the Culture Ministry.

Premier Dacian Ciolos wrote on Facebook that the Romanian state is in a “now or never” situation in what concerns the purchase of the sculpture.

“We are poor, but in what concerns this work of art by Brancusi (who drew inspiration from the depth of the Romanian People’s Soul) it’s “now or never.” If the state does not exercise its pre-emption right, it risks losing the sculpture forever and then we would be even poorer. I believe we have the duty to try everything in our power to keep our values. The living ones but also the heritage,” the Prime Minister wrote on his Facebook account.

Likewise, the Premier gave assurances that the negotiation of the price “was done by professionals, people that know very well the market value of Constantin Brancusi’s works, internationally renowned experts.”

Constantin Brancusi’s ‘La Sagesse de la Terre’ sculpture was assessed at EUR 20 M in September 2014. It is part of a private collection and was not put up for sale, and the Culture Ministry was invited to exercise its pre-emption right.

The crinoidal limestone sculpture made in 1907 is, alongside ‘The Kiss’ and ‘The Prayer,’ one of the artist’s most appreciated works.

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