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Quick Takes: Getty's purchase blocked

November 04, 2010

The J. Paul Getty Trust is being told once more that its money — this time $44.9 million — may be no good in Great Britain, where authorities have blocked the sale of a prized landscape painting of Rome by J.M.W. Turner that the Getty appeared to have bought in a July auction in London.

Britain's culture minister, Ed Vaizy, announced Wednesday that the required export license for "Modern Rome — Campo Vaccino," which Turner painted in 1839, will be held up through Feb. 2, and possibly until Aug. 1, to give potential buyers who want to keep the painting on British soil a chance to match the Getty's bid.

The Getty bid for the Turner knowing the sale could be negated, as happened in 2004, when the National Gallery of London was able to match the $46.6-million price the Getty had agreed to pay two years earlier to buy Raphael's "Madonna of the Pinks" from the Duke of Northumberland.

—Mike Boehm

Spielberg TV epic writers fired

"Terra Nova," Steven Spielberg's long-gestating sci-fi epic for Fox, now has a behind-the-scenes body count. 20th Century Fox Television last week canned most of the writing staff.

However, insiders insist that the move doesn't mean "Terra Nova" is in trouble.

The network recently decided to unveil the series with a two-hour special in May and then continue the series in the regular fall 2011 lineup, a rollout tactic similar to that used successfully with "Glee." But because that pushed the bulk of episode production back until next summer, 20th Century Fox Television was faced with the prospect of paying a lot of writers to do not very much over the next few months.

The studio will either rehire the writers next year — if they are available — or scout new talent. But it's clear that Fox needed to find economies where it could. "Terra Nova," a time-travel epic that toggles between the 22nd century and prehistoric times, is already a budgetary Goliath, with some reports pegging the pilot's cost at nearly $20 million.

—Scott Collins

Morrison and Spacey honored

Two Americans were honored Wednesday in Europe for their contribution to the arts.

In Paris, Toni Morrison was hailed as "the greatest American novelist of her time" by Frederic Mitterrand, France's culture minister, as he inducted the Nobel Prize-winning author of "Beloved," "Love" and "A Mercy" into the elite Legion of Honor society.

In London, Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey was named an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his role in reviving London's Old Vic Theatre, where he has served as artistic director since 2003.

—Associated Press

Huntington buys Wilkie painting

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens owns notable works by Turner and Constable but did not possess a major painting by another influential 19th century British artist, David Wilkie, until now.

The San Marino institution said Wednesday it had purchased "Sancho Panza in the Days of His Youth" (1835), which comes from the collection of publishing executive Christopher Forbes.

"Opportunities to buy anything by Wilkie, let alone a major finished picture, are extremely rare," said John Murdoch, the Huntington's director of art collections.

The Huntington declined to disclose the purchase price of "Sancho Panza in the Days of His Youth." The painting has been installed in the Huntington Art Gallery.

—Karen Wada

Modigliani sells for $68.9 million

A painting by Amedeo Modigliani has sold in New York City for more than

$68.9 million, an auction record for the artist's work.

Sotheby's said five bidders competed Tuesday for "La Belle Romaine," pushing its price well past the $40 million that was expected.

The painting, part of a series of nudes created around 1917, was purchased by an anonymous bidder.

—Associated Press

'Chicago Code' gets time slot

Fox's "The Chicago Code," the much anticipated cop drama from producer Shawn Ryan ("The Shield," "Terriers") will premiere at 9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7, which is the night after the network's coverage of the Super Bowl.

The show, which stars Jason Clarke as a rule-bending veteran Chicago detective juggling work, an ex-wife, a son and a much younger girlfriend, will get a big promotional boost by Fox during the network's coverage of the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl. A post-Super Bowl time slot would have been nice, but Fox is reserving that spot for its hit "Glee."

Besides Clarke, who starred in Showtime's "Brotherhood," "The Chicago Code" also features Jennifer Beals and Delroy Lindo.

—Joe Flint

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