Gov’t to pay back money donated for Brancusi’s “Wisdom of the Earth” at request by 2017 end

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Citizens who donated for Brancusi’s “Wisdom of the Earth” sculpture will get their money back by the end of next year. The Culture ministry sent Parliament a list of amendments to the emergency ordinance on the famous sculpture. More precisely, the Executive asks the lawmakers to approve that donations for the sculpture’s purchase should be paid back based on a written request until December 31, 2017, thus asking for the delay of the donation reimbursement deadline by one year. Once the law in force, Romanians could have their donations back.

The amendment stipulates that the reimbursement procedure of the sums donated for buying Brancusi’ work of art should be settled by government decision no later than June 30, 2017, while the effective restitution should be done no later than December 31, 2017.

Another amendment says that the donated sums of money for which donors are not identified until December 31, 2017 or for which the physical and legal persons who didn’t opt for restitution in 40 days until the bill becomes law are considered income to the state budget.

At the same time, the Government decided to set up Brancusi Fund that will be administered by the National Cultural Fund Administration, a public institution subordinated to the Culture Ministry, with the aim of purchasing contemporary works of art and cultural goods of national patrimony.

The Gov’t argues that setting up this fund is motivated by “the high number of registered donations” and by “the lack of a strategy enabling the state to buy works of art”.

Public Finance minister Anca Dragu said last week that no funds have been allotted to buy the “Wisdom of the Earth” sculpture at the latest budgetary rectification as there is no legal ground for this.

The Romanian Government passed the emergency ordinance on October 12 to complete the sum of EUR 11 M to purchase Constantin Brancusi’s “Wisdom of the Earth”. The regulatory document also sets up a special fund to buy other works of art in the future.

The Government was to pay EUR 10 M to buy the famous sculpture from their current owners by mid-November. About EUR 1 M has been raised by donations following the national subscription campaign.

The special fund to purchase other works of art in the future is based on a similar mechanism that will also include public donations.

The national fundraising campaign for the ‘Wisdom of the Earth’ acquisition was officially launched by the Romanian Gov’t in May and lasted until September 30. The total sum to be raised was EUR 6 M, but only EUR 1,163,034 were raised.

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