Brancusi’s „Wisdom of the Earth”, withdrawn from the National Art Museum


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A week ago, the owners of the „Wisdom of the Earth” sculpture made by famous Constantin Brancusi decided to withdraw the work that has been on display at the Romania’s National Art Museum (MNAR), as the museum cannot pay the insurance, the owners’ lawyer Bogdan Grabowski announced.

The last time the bailment agreement  has been renewed was in April and it was then that the MNAR representatives warned the two owners of the sculpture, Paula Ionescu and Alina Serbanescu that they are not counting on the money from the Culture Ministry to pay the sculpture’s insurance, so the two women decided to take it from the museum and deposit in a private location.

The lawyer added that the Culture Ministry has not responded on this issue.

Former Romanian Culture minister, Lucian Romascanu in October last year  that negotiations for the purchase of Brancusi’s ‘Wisdom of the Earth’ sculpture would be resumed and that a new evaluation on the work would be done.

He stressed back then  that the Romanian authorities intend to conclude negotiations with the famous sculpture’s heirs by the end of the year, and the funds already raised to be used in this respect.

I want to use the money. If we cannot do that, the money must be given back. There are some costs related to the reimbursement, there are bank commissions,” Romascanu used to say.

Moreover, the minister pointed out that the insurance of the sculpture is “extremely expensive” and that it will be on display at the National Museum of Art by February. The work is currently in the museum’s store.

There is one problem with the Wisdom of the Earth: it’s about its insurance which is extremely expensive and the Museum of Art had no budget for that. We are trying to solve this issue and to be able to put the sculpture on display by February,” Romascanu added.

In March 2016, the Culture minister of that time, Vlad Alexandrescu, announced that the Romanian state would buy the sculpture for EUR 11 million, with the owners agreeing on the sum.

Romania’s Government proposed back then that the purchase should be made by a joint effort of the state and of the citizens: the Executive allotted EUR 5 million for the acquisition and the rest of the ERU 6 M were to be raised from public donations. Over 100,000 citizens donated money so that Brancusi’s „Wisdom of the Earth” to get back in the possession of the state, but only EUR 1,163,032 had been raised by September 30, 2016 and the deal had been blocked ever since.

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