Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was not enamored with New York City, a place he felt was overrun with both people (some distinguished) and buildings (most undistinguished). Sure, he took on the task of designing a building to house Solomon R. Guggenheim’s nascent Museum of Non-Objective Painting, but Wright was less than thrilled with the client’s preferred location. “I can think of several more desirable places in the world to build his great museum,” Wright wrote in a letter to architect Arthur Holden, “but we will have to try New York.” The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has apparently come to a similar conclusion, having decided that the architect’s vast archive will soon have a permanent home at Columbia University and the Museum of Modern Art.
The freshly inked joint acquisition and stewardship agreement calls for Wright’s complete physical archives—some 23,000 architectural drawings and 44,000 historical photographs along with large-scale presentation models, manuscripts, correspondence, and other documents—will be permanently transferred to the collections of Columbia and MoMA, with the foundation retaining all copyright and intellectual property responsibility. Columbia’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library will take all of the paper-based materials, while MoMA will house all three-dimensional works, including some of the architectural models made for Wright’s 1940 exhibition at the museum. The joint acquisition is expected to spur the creation of Wright-related publications, exhibitions, public programs, and videos. Oh look, here’s one now: