Art gifts

Cleveland Museum of Art Receives Art Donations Worth Over $ 100 Million


The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) announced today that it has received a gift and pledged gift from a local couple of more than 100 Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Modern European and American paintings, drawings and prints and others coveted works that will enrich and transform the story it tells of the history of art.

Worth more than $ 100 million, donations from the couple, Joseph P. and Nancy F. Keithley, consist of 97 fully donated and 17 pledged works. All are, however, in the possession of the museum, which is struggling to exhibit a large sample from next Tuesday, explains William Griswold, the director of the institution. A major exhibition including the lion’s share or all donations is planned for fall 2022 with the publication of a catalog, he adds.

Griswold says the combined donations have been the biggest going to the museum since 1958, when philanthropist Leonard C. Hanna Jr. made a magnificent bequest of $ 38 million (now valued at $ 300 million) that funded dozens of art purchases from the institution over the past six decades.

Among the many highlights of the Keithleys’ pure and promised gifts he cited is a Braque landscape, The port of L’Estaque, the jetty (1906); a still life by Caillebotte, Chickens, game birds and hares (circa 1882 – “It’s like Chardin meets Manet, a very cool thing”, says Griswold) and Pissarro’s Fish market (1902). There are four works by Édouard Vuillard and Maurice Denis, two each by Milton Avery, Joan Mitchell and Félix Valloton and striking individual examples by Picasso, Matisse, Andrew Wyeth, Vilhelm Hammershøi and Henri-Edmond Cross. Donations also include Chinese and Japanese ceramics, including contemporary examples of the latter, which will strengthen the museum’s Asian collections.

Caillebotte, hens, game birds and hares (circa 1882) Promised gift of Nancy F. and Joseph P. Keithley, 2020 / Cleveland Museum of Art

“It fills in some interesting gaps,” says Griswold. “We’ve had small holdings by the Nabis, for example, and it adds 25. The other thing is that it not only creates a possibility for new juxtapositions and dialogues, but gives us depth in the work of artists. individual.

“We had neither landscape nor Caillebotte still life, now we have both,” he says. And five paintings by Bonnard donated by the couple bring the total of the museum by the artist to nine, he notes. (The Keithleys also give the museum five drawings by Bonnard; before he had none.)

Bonnard, Fruits and Fruit Plates (circa 1930) Gift from the Nancy F. and Joseph P. Keithley collection, 2020 / Cleveland Museum of Art

“It is important to understand how rare it is for us to accept so many works from the same collection as gifts,” adds Griswold. (The museum usually prefers to make a selection.) “Ours is primarily a collection that has been put together one gift or one purchase at a time.”

He said Joseph Keithley, who previously ran a company that made advanced electrical testing instruments, and Nancy Keithley, who became the museum’s administrator in 2001, had consulted closely with the AMC to build their collection over the past two decades. . “Their criterion has always been, ‘Was that good enough for the Cleveland Museum of Art?’ “, did he declare.

About 18 months ago, the couple asked the museum to put together a list of everything the institution wanted in their collection, “and that was pretty much it,” Griswold says. “In November, they came to my office and told me they had given it a lot of thought and wanted to give us whatever was on the list. “

“I think the Keithleys really saw it as a gift not only to the museum but to Cleveland.”


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