On Wednesday evening at a Sotheby’s sale in London the J. Paul Getty Museum acquired J.M.W. Turner’s 1839 masterpiece, Modern Rome -- Campo Vaccino for $44.9 million, reports the Los Angeles Times. The high price is a record for the artist at auction, surpassing his view of Venice, “Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio,”
which sold for $35.9 million in 2006.
The British painter’s seminal work won’t necessarily be headed for California anytime soon however. British law states that artworks of particular significance that have been on British soil for more than 50 years can't be sold and exported without a license, and the sale can be negated if a British institution, or even an individual, matches what a foreign buyer is willing to pay.
David Bomford, the Getty Museum's acting director said that the “acquisition ranks among the greatest in the history of the Getty Museum….Paintings by Turner rarely come to market and the absolutely flawless condition of this one makes it the work against which all other works by Turner will be judged.”
he $44.9 million J.M.W. Turner painting "Modern Rome -- Campo Vaccino."