The Museum of Modern Art, Columbia University and The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation have announced that the vast archives of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) have been jointly acquired by the University and the Museum and will become part of their permanent collections. The archive, which includes some 23,000 architectural drawings, 44,000 historical photographs, large-scale models, manuscripts, extensive correspondence and other documents, has remained in storage at Wright’s former headquarters – Taliesin (Spring Green, WI) and Taliesin West (Scottsdale, AZ) – since his death. Moving the archives to New York will maximize the visibility and research value of the collection for generations of scholars, students and the public.
“The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation takes seriously its responsibility to serve the public good by ensuring the best possible conservation, accessibility, and impact of one of the most important and meaningful archives in the world,” said Sean Malone, CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “Given the individual strengths, resources and abilities of the Foundation, MoMA and Columbia, it became clear that this collaborative stewardship is far and away the best way to guarantee the deepest impact, the highest level of conservation and the best public access.”
Continue after the break for more images and an informative video.
Columbia’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library will be the repository for all paper-based archival contents, including thousands of architectural drawings, the extensive personal and professional correspondence as well as personal and architectural photography of Wright’s works, interview tapes, transcripts and films. Avery will meet the needs of researchers and build curricular use of the collection.
“At Avery, Wright’s rich legacy of archival materials joins the great historic architects whose works are preserved here — from Sebastiano Serlio to Piranesi, and to other key 20th century American figures,” said Carole Ann Fabian, director of Columbia’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. “Wright’s archives will receive the fullest exposure for research-intensive interrogation as well as ongoing opportunities for students, scholars and the interested public to engage with these materials in exhibition, public programs and teaching experiences.”
The Museum of Modern Art will house all three-dimensional works, including architectural models, architectural elements and design prototypes. It will work to develop regular displays and special exhibitions based on this material, integrating them with its own rich collections of modern architecture and design.
“Bringing the archives of Frank Lloyd Wright to MoMA and Columbia University is extraordinary,” said Glenn D. Lowry, Director of The Museum of Modern Art. “It places one of the most important bodies of work of a major architect in a central location in New York, and will be transformative for both institutions.”
“At MoMA, Frank Lloyd Wright’s work will be in conversation with great modern artists and architects such as Picasso, Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier,” said Barry Bergdoll, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA and professor in the Art History and Archeology Department at Columbia. “This collaboration provides opportunities to reposition Wright as a key figure in the larger development of modern art and architecture, after decades of scholarship that have often emphasized his lone genius and his unique Americanness. A new chapter in appreciating Wright is opened by this new setting for his legacy.”
As part of a three-institution “Archives Steering Committee,” the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation will help guide development of the archives and provide interpretive insights on Wright’s work and life. It will continue to preserve and share Wright’s National Historic Landmarks at Taliesin in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Arizona, including the historic furnishings, memorabilia and artifacts used to interpret both sites, along with large and important collections of art, furniture and artifacts that Wright created and collected over his lifetime.
Wright is considered by many to be one of the 20th century’s most influential architects, a figure whose iconic work helped define modernism. The American Institute of Architects, in a recent national survey, recognized him as “the greatest American architect of all time.” More than one-third of Wright’s buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places or are in a National Historic District.
Learn more about his work here on ArchDaily:
- AD Classics: Fallingwater House / Frank Lloyd Wright
- AD Classics: Willey House / Frank Lloyd Wright
- AD Classics: Taliesin West / Frank Lloyd Wright
- AD Classics: Wingspread / Frank Lloyd Wright