The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) recently announced the gift of more than 100 Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and modern European and American paintings, drawings, and prints; Chinese and Japanese ceramics; and other works of art from the collection of Clevelanders Joseph P. and Nancy F. Keithley. Valued at more than $100 million, the gift is the largest to the CMA in 60 years.
The gift comprises 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 spectacular pastel by Eugène Boudin.
“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.”
The entire collection—all the Keithleys’ gifts and promised gifts—have been transferred to the museum, and beginning on Tuesday, March 17, a selection of the works will be on view in the CMA’s permanent collection galleries. A large-scale exhibition of the Keithley gift will take place in fall 2022 and be accompanied by a comprehensive publication.
Nancy and Joseph Keithley are longtime, generous supporters of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Mrs. Keithley became a trustee of the museum in 2001, and from 2006 to 2011 she was chair of its Accessions Advisory and Collections committees. She has also served as a member of the Finance Committee and is currently a member of the board’s Executive, Buildings and Grounds, and Collections committees. She is also a trustee of the Musical Arts Association, which oversees the Cleveland Orchestra.
In 2013, the Keithleys established the Keithley Institute for Art History, a collaborative program of the museum and Case Western Reserve University to train future curators, scholars, museum directors and academic leaders. The program emphasizes an “object-oriented” approach to the teaching of art history, integrating theory with the direct observation of works in the museum’s celebrated permanent collection. The Keithleys’ gift will facilitate this effort, bolstering the number and high caliber of works available for study.