The Cleveland Museum of Art will receive more than 100 works of art from Cleveland collectors Joseph P. and Nancy F. Keithley, the largest gift the museum has received since 1958.
The collection, valued at more than $100 million, includes impressionist, post-impressionist and modern European and American paintings, drawings and prints; Chinese and Japanese ceramics; and other works from the Keithleys.
Of the works pledged, 97 are outright gifts and the other 17 are promised for the museum’s collection in the future.
“It would be difficult to overstate the impact of Joe and Nancy’s gift and promised gift,” said CMA Director William Griswold, in a March 11 news release. “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.”
The gifts are 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 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, according to the release.
Beginning March 17, a selection of the works will be on view in CMA’s permanent collection galleries. A large-scale exhibition of the gift is planned for fall 2022, along with a comprehensive publication.
Nancy and Joseph Keithley are longtime supporters of CMA. Nancy Keithley became a trustee of the museum in 2001, and from 2006 to 2011 she was chair of its Accessions Advisory and Collections committees.
“Joe and I are thrilled to be giving back to our community,” she said in the release. “Cleveland is our home and we have enjoyed building our lives here. It is important to us to share our collection with our fellow Northeast Ohioans, and we felt the Cleveland Museum of Art was a perfect home for the works of art we have assembled, cherished and now joyfully make available to all.”
Joseph Keithley is the former chairman of the board, president and CEO of Keithley Instruments, Inc., a company that he led for 17 years. He is a member of the boards of the Holden Forests & Gardens, the Cleveland Foundation and LAND Studio and a trustee emeritus of Case Western Reserve University.
In 2013, the Keithleys formed the Keithley Institute for Art History, a collaborative program of the museum and CWRU to train future curators, scholars, museum directors and academic leaders. It focuses on an “object-oriented” approach to teaching art history, integrating theory with the viewing works in the museum’s permanent collection. The gift will facilitate the effort, adding to the number of high-caliber works that can be studied.
“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,” Joseph Keithley said in the release. “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.”