CMA gets art valued at $100 million

The Cleveland Museum of Art will receive more than 100 works of art valued at more than $100 million, making it the large bequest to the museum in more than 60 years.

The donation from the collection of Clevelanders Joseph P. and Nancy F. Keithley includes 100 Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and modern European and American paintings, drawings, and prints. It also includes Chinese and Japanese ceramics and other works.

Ninety-seven of the works have come to the museum as outright gifts; another 17 are promised gifts that will enter the museum’s collection in the future. 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 Felix Valloton; and individual pictures of outstanding quality by Henri-Edmond Cross, Vilhelm Hammershoi, 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 Eugene Boudin.

“It would be difficult to overstate the impact of Joe and Nancy’s gift and promised gift,” Director William Griswold said in a statement released by the museum. “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 museum, closed until at least March 31 due to the coronavirus, will display a selection of the works in its permanent collection galleries when it reopens. 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. 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. 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.

“Joe and I are thrilled to be giving back to our community,” said Mrs. Keithley. “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.”

An engineer by training, 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 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.