BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's public has donated less than 3 percent of funds needed to purchase a sculpture by Constantin Brancusi, considered one of the country's finest modern artworks, the prime minister said Monday.
About 138,000 euros ($153,000) has been donated since March toward a 6 million-euro ($6.66 million) campaign for the "Wisdom of the Earth" sculpture, Premier Dacian Ciolos said. He said he was confident the money would be raised by September when the campaign ends. Romania's government will pay 5 million euros toward the 11-million-euro purchase price.
Calling the statue "a work of reference in Brancusi's artistic life," Ciolos urged Romanians "to join us with their hearts and minds to decide whether this work should be accessible to the general public."
"We will do everything we can to convince them it's worth it." In April, the prime minister donated his salary to the campaign.
Romania's national television station TVR announced Monday it would organize a series of telethons to raise money for the campaign.
The limestone statue from 1907 or 1908 depicts a woman sitting with folded arms, her legs pulled up. It was confiscated in 1957 and became the center of a prolonged legal dispute after communism ended. In 2008, it was returned to the original owner's family.
The son of Romanian farmers, Brancusi emigrated to France in 1903 where he became one of the great sculptors of the last century. He died in 1957.
The Romanian government wants to have his remains moved from Paris to Romania.