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Cleveland Museum of Art gifted range of major works valued at $100 million from local couple

Posted at 7:00 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 19:00:03-04

CLEVELAND — Christmas came early for the Cleveland Museum of Art. On Wednesday, the museum announced the largest gift in more than 60 years: more than 100 Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and modern European and American paintings from the collection of Clevelanders Joseph P. and Nancy F. Keithley, valued at more than $100 million.

“For Nancy and me, collecting has been a true joy, and we are delighted that these works will inspire museum visitors from Cleveland and around the world. That they will also be available to students—and will inform the teaching of art history and museology at the Keithley Institute—is especially exciting for us," the Joseph Keithley said in a news release.

This collection of diverse artwork is the largest gift given to the CMA since the 1958 bequest of Leonard C. Hanna Jr.

Artwork given to the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Artwork given to the Cleveland Museum of Art.

“It would be difficult to overstate the impact of Joe and Nancy’s gift and promised gift,” said William Griswold, director. “It is nothing short of transformative, and it will permanently enrich our holdings— and the visitor’s experience—across the institution, from our galleries of Asian art to those dedicated to Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and the 20th century in Europe and this country.”

Artwork given to the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Artwork given to the Cleveland Museum of Art.

The museum was given 97 of the works as outright gifts; another 17 are promised gifts that will enter the museum’s collection in the future.

According to the release, the gift and promised gift include five paintings by Pierre Bonnard; four each by Maurice Denis and Edouard Vuillard; two each by Milton Avery, Georges Braque, Gustave Caillebotte, Joan Mitchell, and Félix Valloton; and individual pictures of outstanding quality by Henri-Edmond Cross, Vilhelm Hammershøi, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, and Andrew Wyeth. Among the works on paper are six watercolors by John Marin, five drawings by Bonnard, and a pastel by Eugène Boudin.

Beginning on March 17, a selection of works will be on display in CMA’s permanent collection galleries. A large-scale exhibition of the Keithley gift will take place in fall of 2022.

“It is incredibly exciting to see such a wide range of important works added to the museum’s collection,” said Scott Mueller, chairman of the board of the Cleveland Museum of Art. “Visitors from Cleveland and around the globe will benefit from Nancy and Joe’s keen collecting vision and abundant generosity.”