Frank Lloyd Wright artifacts to call NYC home

A massive collection of Frank Lloyd Wright artifacts is moving permanently to New York City. Approximately 23,000 architectural drawings, 40 large-scale models, 44,000 photographs, 600 manuscripts and nearly a third of a million pieces of correspondence by the famed architect were acquired by the Museum of Modern Art and Columbia Unviersity’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, the New York Times reported.

The partnership took control of the collection from Wright’s former headquarters in Wisconsin and Arizona where they have been located since his death in 1959. MoMA will display the models, while the papers will remain in Columbia University’s library. They will now be more easily accessible to the public.

“It’s what guarantees the deepest impact, the highest level of conservation and access in perpetuity,” Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation President and CEO Sean Malone told the Times. “The potential for new audiences far outweighs the personal desire to have it close by.”

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Malone said the cost of maintaining the archives also played a role in the decision to unload them.

Meanwhile, the move marks a new direction for MoMA, and according to Director Glenn Lowry could be a model for how it acquires future collections. “We have avoided collecting archives in the past simply because we didn’t have the resources, either physical or financial, to manage them on our own,” he told the Times.

Wright is the the architect behind the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on the Upper East Side. [NYT] — Adam Fusfeld