The body of Frank Lloyd Wright was infamously exhumed and moved from Wisconsin to Arizona in 1985. Now the body of his work is being moved to New York.

More than 23,000 of Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural drawings, 44,000 photos, large-scale models, manuscripts and other documents are being moved permanently from Wisconsin and Arizona to New York City.

The items leaving Wisconsin's Taliesin are limited to fewer than 40 of the architecture models made during Wright's lifetime, said Sean Malone, chairman of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

"Very little is leaving Wisconsin," he said.

"The vast majority of what we are talking about are the paper archives, the drawings, the manuscripts, the correspondence, the things that are in temperature- and humidity-controlled environments and careful watch in Scottsdale, Arizona.

"Everything that a tour guest experienced yesterday at Taliesin (Spring Green) is what they will experience tomorrow," he assured.

The collection has been acquired from the foundation by the Museum of Modern Art and Columbia University's Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, according to a joint announcement made Tuesday.

The institutions will share equally in the management of the collection. MoMA will house the models; the papers will be held at Avery.

Malone said in an interview it would be inappropriate to call the deal a "sale," and he would not comment on a possible transfer fee.

"The appropriate verb for the transfer is 'acquire,' " Malone said.

The foundation will continue to preserve and share Wright's National Historic Landmarks in Spring Green and in Scottsdale, including historic furnishings, memorabilia and artifacts.

Wright, who died in 1959, designed 1,141 architectural works, including houses, offices, churches, schools, libraries, bridges and museums. Of that total, 532 resulted in completed structures, and 409 of them still stand.

Malone said it was important to find a place where Wright's work is placed in context with other artists and architects, and where it will be properly preserved and accessible. Also being acquired are the archives of Wright's apprentices, he said.

Ron McCrea, a Madison author of the recently published "Building Taliesin" and longtime Wright researcher, said the move is a wise one that will "safeguard a world treasure far into the future and give it a really good home."

"I hope (the foundation) gets some kind of payment so they can put more money into preserving the campuses they still own," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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