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Joseph P. and Nancy F. Keithley. Courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Cleveland Museum of Art Receives Largest Gift in More Than Sixty Years

Ohio-based collectors Joseph P. and Nancy F. Keithley have pledged to donate more than one hundred Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and modern European and American paintings, drawings, and prints, as well as Chinese and Japanese ceramics and other artworks, to the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA). The promised gift is valued at more than $100 million and is the largest donation the CMA has received since 1958.

The entire collection has 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 works from the Keithley collection will take place in the fall of 2022 and will be accompanied by a publication. Among the works included in the donation are paintings by Milton Avery, Georges Braque, Gustave Caillebotte, Henri Matisse, Joan Mitchell, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, Edouard Vuillard, and Andrew Wyeth; watercolors by John Marin; drawings by Pierre Bonnard; and a pastel by Eugène Boudin.

“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 CMA’s board. “Visitors from Cleveland and around the globe will benefit from Nancy and Joe’s keen collecting vision and abundant generosity.” Museum director William Griswold said that the gift “is nothing short of transformative, and it will permanently enrich our holdings—and the visitor’s experience—across the institution.”

As longtime supporters of the CMA, Nancy and Joseph Keithley have served in various roles at the museum. Nancy Keithley became a trustee of the institution in 2001, and from 2006 to 2011, she was chair of its accessions advisory and collections committees. In 2013, the collectors established the Keithley Institute for Art History—a collaborative program run by the museum and Case Western Reserve University, where Joseph Keithley is a trustee emeritus, that trains future arts professionals.

Commenting on their decision to give to the CMA, Nancy Keithley said: “Joe and I are thrilled to be giving back to our community. 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.” 

Georges Braque, The Port de l’Estaque, The Pier, 1906. 

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