The Culture Ministry reacted to the row of the “Wisdom of the Earth” sculpture by Constantin Brancusi. Secretary of state Bogdan Stanoevici said that an estimation of EUR 20m for the sculpture is fake and absurd, also denying that the ministry had submitted a EUR 1m bid.
“The Culture Ministry has never submitted EUR 1m. I won’t give any figures as the procedure is not finalised,” Stanoevici told Mediafax, also denying that EUR 3 would be another bid.
“Other fake information is that the work has been estimated at EUR 20m, which is not true,” the secretary of state stated, mentioning there have been three ratings by three different experts and an average of EUR 4m has been agreed to enable the sculpture to be put up for auction.
Moreover, the Government official pointed out that the descendants of the family who owns the sculpture are not at all the ones who have the major interest in this transaction, but the Artmark auction house managing the sale would be. According to Stanoevici, Artmark manager and main stockholder Alexandru Baldea “tried to force the Government’s hand with that EUR 20m assessment” so that Artmark could cash in on a higher percentage. The secretary of state also argued that the head of the auction house would have tried to convince the sculpture’s owners athat EUR 20m is the right sum.
Stanoevici said that negotiations are not over yet.
A week ago, the owners of Brancusi’s “Wisdom of the Earth” sculpture slammed the Government for submitting ‘a shameful bid’ to buy the masterpiece, while threatening that the Romanian state “most probably would not be the sculpture’s next owner”.
The current owners’ lawyer told Mediafax that the Romanian Gov’t makes a jest of the offer. Bogdan Grabowski added the negotiations might be over and now it’s all up to the Romania’s Government and to the prime minister to seriously bid for the sculpture.
‘The first refusal held by the Romanian Government, which expired on October 4th last year, is borne in the limits set by the owners. The bid request is for EUR 20m (…) If the states proposes 1 or 2 million euros, we have nothing to talk about’, the lawyer said.
In his opinion, if the Romanian state considers that Brancusi is worth 1 or 2 million euros, then “it’s cutting its own throat.”
The Government approved on September 10, 2014 a memorandum providing for the start of negotiations for the acquisition of “The Wisdom of the Earth”, a masterpiece by sculptor Constantin Brâncuși; the Ministry of Culture was thus empowered to exercise its pre-emption right and see to the negotiations.
The statue, which belongs to a private Bucharest collection, was put up for sale and was presented on September 8th, 2014 at the private exhibition “Showcasing Romanian Avant-garde Art from Private Collections, on exclusive display” organised by Artmark on the occasion of the visit of several important international collectors.