Art: Final Severance

His name was John L. Severance, but his role in Cleveland was Lorenzo de' Medici's. A bearded, bespectacled man of placid temperament and steady habits who had inherited a vast fortune from his father, Standard Oil's Louis H. Severance, he made up for an otherwise uneventful life by making himself Cleveland's most lavish patron of the arts. As a patron, he had a tycoon's audacity.

Severance whipped the Cleveland Museum of Art into shape. He helped found the Cleveland Orchestra. He offered, in 1928, to put up a million dollars to give Cleveland the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!