NEW YORK (Reuters) - The archives of Frank Lloyd Wright, widely regarded as one of the greatest architects of modern times, will move to New York City to become part of the permanent collections of Columbia University and the Museum of Modern Art, the institutions announced on Tuesday.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation said its decision to work with MoMA and Columbia would ensure the archives, including more than 23,000 of Wright’s architectural drawings, are properly conserved and seen more widely by scholars and the public.
Wright died in 1959 at the age of 91.
“This is all part of our cultural heritage,” said Sean Malone, the foundation’s CEO. The foundation has spent the past two years deciding how to conserve the archives, he said.
In addition to Wright’s drawings, the archives include more than 600 of Wright’s manuscripts, more than 300,000 pieces of his professional and personal correspondence, dozens of scale models and more than 44,000 historical photographs.
They are currently stored at Wright’s former homes and studios at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin, which will continue to operate as museums under the foundation.
The architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable, who has written a biography of Wright, said in an interview the move was an “absolutely wonderful solution to a very extreme problem.”
“This was inevitable, and there’s no better place than New York because it’s the center of research and activity,” she said.
More than a third of Wright’s 409 extant structures are included on the National Register of Historic Places or are in a National Historic District, according to the foundation.
Considered a defining voice of 20th-Century modernism, his works include many homes in Oak Park outside Chicago, the distinctive spiral of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan and the cantilevered home known as Fallingwater, which straddles a waterfall in woods outside Pittsburgh.
Under the new arrangement, Columbia’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library will house the archives’ papers, photographs, interview recordings and films. MoMA will house all the three-dimensional items.
The foundation will continue to own the archives’ intellectual property rights.
Items will be start arriving in New York in the coming months, and the move should be completed toward the end of 2013. Malone declined to discuss the cost of the arrangement.
Editing by Paul Thomasch