Romania calls on citizens to help buy Brancusi sculpture
BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romanians can collectively own a work of their greatest artist, the modernist giant Constantin Brancusi, by joining a government-led campaign to buy one of his sculptures.
After an epic 18 month walk from his tiny Romanian village, the 27-year old sculptor arrived in Paris in 1904 and eventually worked under French star Auguste Rodin.
In 1907, he left Rodin's studio saying "Nothing grows under big trees" and created "The Meekness of the Earth" - a vulnerable, crouching female nude of primitive simplicity - later selling it to Romanian engineer Gheorghe Romascu.
The communist regime seized it in 1957. Romascu's heirs got it back in 2012 after a protracted legal battle.
Bucharest launched a campaign on Thursday to raise 6 million euros to buy the piece, "Cumintenia Pamantului" in Romanian.
"I am calling on Romanians to take individual responsibility because I want Brancusi to unite us, not divide us," Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos said.
The fundraising drive carries the slogan "Brancusi is mine." Donations come with tax exemptions.
The government will put up 5 million euros of the 11 million euros ($12.32 million) price tag, hoping to raise the rest from Romanians by end-September.
"This sculpture - representative for his entire work - is the last one that the Romanian state can recover and make accessible to the wider public and art lovers," the government said in a statement. Continued...