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The woman, carved from limestone, sits with her arms resting on her pulled-up legs and looks enigmatically ahead. She is regarded as one of Romania’s finest modernist artworks, yet the Bucharest government’s refusal to say whether it wants to buy her has left the €20m (£15m) sculpture in a murky legal limbo, and its owners unable to sell.

The statue, "The Wisdom of the Earth" by Constantin Brâncuși, has a history that reflects the tumult in its creator’s native land. First sold in 1911, it was confiscated by the communists in 1957 and became the subject of a lengthy legal battle after the fall of the dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, ending in 2008 with it returned to the family of its original owner.

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Christie’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale took place on June 18, 2013 in London. The sale garnered $100.4 million and sold 84% by lot and 87% by value. The top lot of the night was Wassily Kandinsky’s (1866-1944) Studie zu Improvisation 3 (1909), which sold for $21.1 million, a few million shy of its $24.7 million high estimate. The painting is from the artist’s renowned “Improvisation” series, which signaled his transition into abstraction. Many of Kandinsky’s works from this period reside in museum collections.

Other highlights from the sale include Amedeo Modigliani’s (1884-1920) portrait of the art dealer Paul Guillame (1916), which brought $10.6 million; Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) Femme assise dans un fauteuil (1960), which sold for $9.5 million; Claude Monet’s (1840-1926) landscape painting Sainte-Adresse (1873), which garnered $4.4 million; and Auguste Rodin’s (1840-1917) iconic marble sculpture Eve après le péché (1900-1915), which earned $4.4 million. Records were set for Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) and Eugène Boudin (1824-1898).

Jay Vincze, International Director and Head of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie’s London, said, “There was great depth of bidding on works of high quality at all price levels, with strong participation from many new and existing collectors from both traditional and growth markets.”

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