Collectors have turned a limestone cave in a Napa Valley hillyard into a unique private gallery space

The first curated cave installation is comprised of 19 works including pieces by Christopher Wool


New York

San Francisco philanthropists and collectors Norman and Norah Stone are unveiling a 5,700 sq. ft cave full of art to friends and invited guests at the end of this month. Hewn into the limestone hillside of a 17-acre vineyard in the Napa Valley which the couple use as their weekend retreat, the 25-foot tunnel-vaulted interior has been designed by the New York firm Bade Stageberg Cox.

Thea Westreich, who has been the Stones’ art advisor for 27 years, has curated the first cave installation, selecting 19 works from the Stone’s 500-strong collection including pieces by Vito Acconci, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Christopher Wool.

The Stones, who describe their collecting as “adventuresome and daring”, have also commissioned James Turrell to create Stone Sky, 2005 for their Napa Valley estate; this includes two Skyspaces—enclosed chambers with views of the sky—and a swimming pool. One of the Skyspaces can be reached only by swimming underwater and resurfacing in a grotto that seats up to 16 people. Also located on the premises is a farmhouse filled with art and the Stone’s collection of mid-century Scandinavian furniture and design. Cady Noland’s only outdoor sculpture, Log Cabin Blank with Screw Eyes and Café Door/Memorial to John Caldwell (1990), is also installed on the property.

The son of the late Chicago billionaire insurance magnate W. Clement Stone, Norman Stone works part-time as a psychologist at a non-profit mental health clinic, and also runs the family foundation, which sponsors childhood development programmes. The couple are members of the Tate’s International Council and the Whitney Museum’s National Committee.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as ‘California collectors put their art in a cave'