The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) has received a major gift from the estate of the late American philanthropists Norah and Norman Stone, spanning around 350 contemporary artworks and a $10m unrestricted bequest to support future exhibitions and programming.
The donation includes paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and design objects, among them multiple works by Marcel Duchamp, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Theaster Gates, Sherrie Levine, Cady Noland and Walid Raad.
Other pieces in the donation are “singular gems”, according Janet Bishop, the chief curator and curator of painting and sculpture at SFMoMA, such as an Alighiero Boetti embroidery and major installations by Ai Weiwei and Doug Aitken, among others.
Some of the pieces, which add to the museum’s collection of more than 23,000 contemporary works, will be rotated in the collection galleries starting this summer. The bequest will also fund two exhibitions this year, beginning with a show championing the work of experimental women artists titled Shifting the Silence (9 April-5 September).
The Stones were longtime trustees of the museum and collaborated with its directors and curators for more than five decades, according to SFMoMA director Neal Benezra. The couple amassed the bulk of their collection in the 1980s, remaining “active in all aspects of the museum and great ambassadors for San Francisco and SFMoMA”, he adds.
In an interview with Architectural Digest in 2016, on the occasion of a tour of their art-filled San Francisco home, Norah said that collecting art brought the couple “closer together”. Beyond her contributions to SFMoMA, Norah served on the national committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the international council of the Tate in London.
“When SFMoMA launched a collections campaign in 2009, the Stones committed some of the most important works in their collection,” Bishop says, including pieces by John Baldessari and Joseph Beuys, among others.
She adds, “The additional 350 works in the bequest now round out a transformative gift for the museum [...] that will greatly enhance SFMoMA’s ability to organise outstanding contemporary art exhibitions for our visitors in the years to come.”