Monday, July 23, 2007

Archives for Sale

Robin Pogrebin has a story in tomorrow's New York Times about "a small but influential number of celebrity architects who are considering selling their archives — which can include tens of thousands of objects, from multiple large-scale models and reams of drawings to correspondence and other records — even as they continue to practice." Frank Gehry is apparently looking for a sale in the "multimillion dollar" range; Peter Eisenman has already sold his "for an undisclosed amount" to the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal and is currently "negotiating with the Beinecke Library at Yale University over some of his collected books and magazines." In 2005 the Getty acquired the archive of Modernist architect Pierre Koenig -- consisting of more than 3,000 objects, including drawings, models, photographs, slides, and documents -- from his widow, also "for an undisclosed amount."

The story points out that archives are donated more often than sold, "because the institutions that covet them do not have large acquisition budgets and the priority for donors is usually simply to see that their material finds a suitable home." Robert A.M. Stern has donated his archives to Yale, as have Kevin Roche and Cesar Pelli.