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Brancusi's 'The Wisdom of the Earth' put up for auction

One of Constantin Brancusi's most significant works preserved in Romania, 'The Wisdom of the Earth' - which belongs to a private Bucharest collection - was put up for sale and is presented this Monday at the private exhibition 'Showcasing Romanian Avant-garde Art from Private Collections, on exclusive display' organized by auction house Artmark on the occasion of the visit of some important international collectors, the auction house informs in a release.

The sculpture received several acquisition offers, some from Romanian collectors, others from international collectors and cultural institutions. Since this masterpiece is classified as 'Treasure' of the National Cultural Heritage, Artmark, acting as agent of the owners, initiated on September 3 the procedure for the notification of the Ministry of Culture for the latter to exercise its pre-emption right according to the requirements of the law.

According to the cited release, Artmark's notifying the Romanian state on the sale of the Brancusi work of art in response to existing domestic and international offers gives the Romanian government the opportunity to preserve and put this important masterpiece on display in a museum.

Created in 1907, 'The Wisdom of Earth' alongside 'The Kiss' and 'The Prayer' marks the artist's most appreciated creative period, when he was tapping into new philosophical senses with universal value, cast in formal expressions of absolute novelty.

'The Wisdom of the Earth' was purchased in 1911 by engineer and art lover Gheorghe Romascu from the artist himself and was abusively confiscated in 1957 by the communist leadership of the Art Museum; it was returned to the legal owners after 51 years and a drawn-out trial.

Currently, the sculpture of crinoid limestone - the first owner of the sculpture said that he learned firsthand, right from Brancusi, that the sculptor had used for the body of the statue a block of stone from the catacombs of Paris - is valued at 20 million US dollars.

The most important recent transaction with a sculpture by Brancusi is the acquisition in 2009 by Christie's in Paris of the wood sculpture 'Madame LR' for the price of 26 million euros (fees and taxes excluded).

The last time a Brancusi work was sold was in June 2014 in New York, when Christie's auctioned off for 5.4 million euros a simple plaster cast of his upcoming masterpiece 'The Kiss.'