With a collection of more than 6,000 works, Cleveland Clinic has long advocated ‘fine art is good medicine’. In May it will benefit from the sale of Mrs. Sydell Miller's remarkable gift — including works by Chagall, Picasso and Lichtenstein
This May eight important works from the collection of Cleveland Clinic will go under the hammer in New York — three in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, and the other five in the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale.
The works — by Louise Bourgeois, Marc Chagall, Jean Dubuffet, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, Roy Lichtenstein, Marino Marini and Pablo Picasso were generously donated to Cleveland Clinic by Mrs. Sydell Miller, who has a long association with the hospital. In 2005, Mrs. Miller announced a $70 million commitment to create the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Pavilion, home to the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute.
‘There is a wonderful figurative thread, with lots of materiality and colour that’s representative of the great eye and taste of the collector herself,’ says Laura Paulson, chairman of Post-War and Contemporary Art, of the eight works.
Entrepreneurs Sydell and Arnold Miller were the founders of Matrix Essentials, one of the largest suppliers of professional beauty products in the world. Proponents of empowering individuals and communities, they created a legacy that Sydell Miller, her children and grandchildren continue to build upon today.
Arnold Miller died in 1992, the same year in which his wife underwent major heart surgery at Cleveland Clinic. Two years later, Sydell Miller sold Matrix to devote herself more fully to family and philanthropy. Of particular concern to Mrs. Miller was the healthcare institution that had come to play such an important role in her life. ‘My family and I are deeply grateful,’ she stated, ‘for the care we have received at Cleveland Clinic.’
In 2008, the city of Cleveland celebrated the opening of the 970,000-square-foot Sydell & Arnold Miller Family Pavilion. Now, nearly a quarter of a century after her husband’s passing, Sydell Miller’s commitment to Cleveland Clinic is reflected in the fact that it is acknowledged as the top-ranked cardiology and heart surgery hospital in the United States.
Sydell Miller’s passion for promoting individual expression and creativity drew her to the very best in artistic achievement. Her museum-quality assemblage of fine art includes works by many iconic Impressionist, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary artists. Of particular note are the many female artists represented, as Mrs. Miller has been a lifelong champion of women’s ambitions and achievements.
Cleveland Clinic has led the way in integrating art into healthcare. Across its sites it exhibits an important public collection of contemporary art consisting of more than 6,000 works. ‘In our minds, fine art is good medicine,’ says Joanne Cohen, executive director and curator of Cleveland Clinic’s Art Program, part of the Arts & Medicine Institute, which has been installing art at the hospital since 2006. ‘It comforts and it elevates the spirit, it confirms life and hope; it creates an ambience that encourages healing.’
That belief in the therapeutic power of art is not just an article of faith. Cleveland Clinic has commissioned research to assess the effects of the collection. ‘In 2012 we published the results of a study into its impact on moods, comfort, stress, and overall satisfaction. We surveyed 1,100 people who had spent at least one night at the Cleveland Clinic Hospital; 73 per cent of them said that their mood was improved by the presence of the art.’
The works about to be sold at Christie’s have never been exhibited at Cleveland Clinic facilities, but they will benefit patients in a different way: all the proceeds of the Sydell Miller gift will go to the Heart & Vascular Institute that she endowed over a decade ago, and will be instrumental in helping to transform heart care.