The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) today announced the landmark gift of nearly 350 paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, design objects and media art works from the Estate of Norah and Norman Stone.
A monumentally important collection of cutting-edge modern and contemporary art, the Stones’ gift includes works by a diverse and exceptional range of artists including Diane Arbus, Hans Bellmer, Marcel Duchamp, Jeff Koons, Sarah Lucas, Bruce Nauman, Francis Picabia, Sigmar Polke, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Carrie Mae Weems, Ai Wei Wei and Danh Vo, among many others.
The Stones began collecting art in the 1980s. With the early guidance of former SFMOMA curator of painting and sculpture, John Caldwell (1942–1993), the Stones developed their passion for thought-provoking, vanguard contemporary art, and collecting became a key focus of their lives. In the late 1980s, the Stones became increasingly interested in young artists such as Matthew Barney, Robert Gober, Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince and Cindy Sherman. Collecting was a joint effort for the couple—“Collecting brings us closer together…” Norah Stone said in a 2016 interview with Architectural Digest. “You won’t always agree, but you know you have to make decisions. That’s life really.”
With a growing dedication to art, Norman joined the SFMOMA Board of Trustees in 1991, followed by Norah in 2009. Norah also served as an SFMOMA docent, and the couple dedicated copious time to numerous SFMOMA board committees and auxiliaries. Their longterm commitment to SFMOMA was additionally illustrated by their involvement with the Campaign for Art which helped generate gifts of over 3,000 works of art—including their own contributions of work by John Baldessari, Joseph Beuys and Jeff Koons, among others—in celebration of the expanded museum’s opening in 2016.
Highlights of the Stone Collection include several seminal works by Marcel Duchamp, such as Objet-dard, L.H.O.O.Q. and Feuille de vigne femelle; selections by Andy Warhol including Nine Shoes and Six Oxidation Paintings; the celebrated Two Ball Tank and Large Vase of Flowers by Jeff Koons, which greeted visitors on SFMOMA’s Floor 7 galleries during the 2016 reopening of the museum upon its expansion; standout photographs such as Catherine Opie’s Bo, Carrie Mae Weems’ Kitchen Table and Cindy Sherman’s Film Still; and thought-provoking conceptual works such as Ai Wei Wei’s Fairytale Chairs and Danh Vo’s FedEx.