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Quick Takes: A Klimt painting may be returned

April 22, 2011

An Austrian museum has decided to return a valuable Gustav Klimt painting to the grandson of its original owner, a victim of the Nazis.

Klimt's "Litzlberg am Attersee" landscape is estimated to be worth as much as $44 million and is one of the Vienna museum's best known pieces.

"As painful as returning this painting is for the … collection, the province and all of Austria, I believe the Salzburg government must stay on the path started in 2002 and not allow itself to benefit from a criminal regime," Wilfried Haslauer, director of the Museum of Modern Arts, said Thursday.

He was referring to a 2002 accord struck with Jewish organizations on returning assets that Nazis stole. The Salzburg government and parliament have to approve the move.

Experts commissioned by the museum determined that Georges Jorisch was the rightful owner of the oil on canvas painted in 1915. Jorisch is the grandson of Amalie Redlich, whom the Nazis deported to Poland in October 1941 and murdered.

—Reuters

Officials jailed over Van Gogh

An Egyptian court Thursday jailed five officials, including a former head of the country's fine arts department, over the theft of a Van Gogh painting worth an estimated $55 million, state media said.

"Poppy Flowers" was stolen last August from Cairo's Mahmoud Khalil museum, home to one of the Middle East's finest collections of 19th and 20th century art. It has not been found.

Mohsen Shalaan, who was head of the culture ministry's fine arts department at the time, and the other officials had been convicted of gross negligence and incompetence last October. A police investigation soon after the theft found that security measures at the museum were extremely lax, raising fears about the safety of the treasure trove of art and antiquities on display in Egypt.

Legal sources said the court sentenced Shalaan to one year in jail and ordered him to perform community service. The other four were given six-month prison terms, the sources said.

—Reuters

Battistelli wins at Dove Awards

Francesca Battistelli continues her strong surge as Christian music's biggest star.

Battistelli won artist of the year at the 42nd annual Dove Awards in Atlanta Wednesday night. She also went home with two more awards: best female vocalist and pop-contemporary recorded song.

Battistelli, 25, has soared recently with her second major-label album, "Hundred More Years," which reached No. 1 on Billboard's Top Christian Albums chart last month.

Other winners included Chris August, who was new artist of the year, best male vocalist and earned another award for pop-contemporary album. Singer Jason Crabb and the group Point of Grace also claimed three Doves apiece.

The show will air Sunday on GMC, formerly known as the Gospel Music Channel.

—Associated Press

Lohan is set to play a Gotti

Lindsay Lohan is back in a proposed film about the Gotti crime family after she personally persuaded its reluctant producer to give her a shot.

The actress, whose promising career has been derailed by drug and legal problems, had been in negotiations for a role in "Gotti: Three Generations," starring John Travolta as mob boss John Gotti. She even showed up at a news conference announcing the project last week.

But producer Marc Fiore said Wednesday that he had broken off talks because of demands made by Lohan's management team.

He later reversed himself, saying Lohan had convinced him to hire her to play Kim Gotti, wife of John Gotti Jr.

—Reuters

Cook back on 'Criminal Minds'

CBS made a bold move last summer to shake up its FBI-based hit "Criminal Minds," ditching two actresses from the cast even though the ratings were strong and the characters were well-liked.

Now the network has taken an equally surprising step by rehiring one of the actresses, A.J. Cook, and potentially bringing back the other, Paget Brewster.

As part of her new deal, Cook, who plays Jennifer "J.J." Jareau, will appear on the criminal profiling series' May 18 season finale before rejoining as a full-time cast member in the fall.

Brewster, who since leaving the series found a role in a comedy pilot, may head back to "Criminal Minds" if the new show doesn't make NBC's schedule.

—T.L. Stanley

Finally

New series: Gus Van Sant ("Milk," "Good Will Hunting," "Last Days") will make his TV directing debut on the first episode of "Boss," a drama series for Starz in which Kelsey Grammer plays the mayor of Chicago. It's scheduled to premiere in October.

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