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Cleveland's 'Sicily: Art and Invention' show officially canceled

The Cleveland Museum of Art has come to a decision about the exhibition "Sicily: Art and Invention Between Greece and Rome." It’s not traveling from the Getty Villa to the Ohio museum this fall.

The show of more than 100 ancient treasures opened April 3 at the Getty Villa and was to move to Cleveland in late September, with the two museums to share exhibition costs.

Then Sicily requested the antiquities be returned to Italy because their absence was hurting the region's tourism.

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Sicily eventually submitted an “economic proposal” to the Cleveland museum that would allow the show to go on as planned -- but at a steep price. According to two sources with knowledge of the situation, both of whom were not authorized to speak publicly, Sicily asked the museum for roughly $700,000.

“Earlier this month, officials in Sicily advised the museum that despite prior agreements and commitments, the exhibition could only come to Cleveland from the Getty upon the payment of significant fees,” Cleveland Museum Director David Franklin said in a statement Wednesday.

“To announce all new economic terms after the exhibition has been organized, cataloged and shipped is unprecedented and negotiations over this development have to date been unsuccessful. We are very disappointed not to be able to share this exhibition with our visitors, but at this point we must turn our attention to developing new plans for the fall.”

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The Getty has been caught in the middle of the dispute — and is likely on the hook to absorb the entire financial responsibility for the show, a total investment of about $990,000, approximately $300,000 more than it had planned, said Ron Hartwig, the Getty's vice president of communications.

The show will remain at the Getty Villa until Aug. 19.

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