The Romanian state will purchase The Wisdom of the Earth, a work by famous Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi. The work will be exhibited at the Village Museum in Bucharest. The purchase price is 11 million euro, of which the state had originally announced it would pay 5 million euros. The remaining 6 million euro was to be covered from a public subscription campaign and from private donations. However, only 1,2 million euro was raised by the end of September. On Wednesday, the Government decided not to extend the campaign. The Ministry of Culture will pay the remaining 4,8 million euro required for the purchase. The Wisdom of the Earth is now part of a private collection.
Culture Minister Corina Suteu told Radio Romania that the Government’s public subscription campaign was one of the most original ideas put forward in a European country: “The important thing right now is for this campaign to pave the way for setting up a public fund for culture, used to purchase cultural objects with the help of private donors. Therefore it is a hybrid form of procurement, very innovative for Europe right now, which creates the opportunity of coming up with a model where both individual citizens and the state can contribute to the consolidation of national heritage”.
A series of NGOs, cultural institutions, artists and public and private enterprises have joined the campaign in an unprecedented effort for Romania. The campaign, Corina Suteu went on to say, is also a good example of how to rid culture of red tape, opening it up to the great public in order to carry out a project with a nationwide impact. On Wednesday, the Government also set up the so-called “Brancusi Fund”, aimed at raising funds for the purchase of other works of art to be included on Romania’s list of cultural assets.
The Fund’s finances will be made up donations, sponsorships and state-budget allocations. A vocal opponent of the technocrat Government in Bucharest, the Social-Democratic Party deems the public subscription campaign for the purchase of the Wisdom of the Earth a failure. Social-Democrats call for disclosing the name of the expert who set the purchase price at 11 million euros, as well as the purchase contract. The Social-Democratic Party claims a committee previously set up at the level of the Ministry of Culture had set the negotiation ceiling at 5 million euro. (Translated by Vlad Palcu)