Frank Gehry's early drawings and sketches acquired by LA's Getty Research Institute

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Frank Gehry's early drawings and sketches acquired by LA's Getty Research Institute

The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles has acquired an archive of work by architect Frank Gehry that spans his first 30 years in practice.

Announced yesterday, the part purchase, part gift includes a comprehensive overview of projects from the start of the 88-year-old Canadian-American architect's career.

"Frank Gehry is undoubtedly the world's most famous living architect," said Getty Research Institute director Thomas W Gaehtgens.

"This extensive archive, covering the first three decades of his illustrious career, offers an in-depth look at the genesis of Gehry's distinctive style and includes many of the projects for which he is internationally known."

The Gehry Archive comprises approximately 1,000 sketches, more than 120,000 working drawings and over 100,000 slides.

Drawing by Frank Gehry
The Gehry Archive includes approximately 1,000 sketches created by the architect during the first three decades of his career

Hundreds of boxes of office records, personal papers, and correspondence, 168 working models, and 112 presentation models are also included.

The material encompasses the period from Gehry's early graduate studies to the 1988 competition entry for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown LA, the year before he won the prestigious Pritzker Prize for architecture.

The collection also contains digital files, which represent the architect's development of the software platforms needed for him to be able to plan the construction of his complicated buildings.

Gehry lives in the house he designed for himself in Santa Monica, part of LA's metropolitan area. His development for the city's Sunset Strip was approved in August 2016, and he has also been appointed masterplanner for the barren LA River.

His best-known works elsewhere includes the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris and the Facebook Campus in California. The architect's refurbishment of the Philadelphia Museum of Art is due to break ground today.

Model by Frank Gehry
The material encompasses the period from Gehry's early graduate studies to the 1988 competition entry for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown LA

"I'm honoured by the attention of the Getty Research Institute delving into the history of my work, my beginnings, and other things that I never thought anybody would be interested in," said Gehry.

"I'm very moved that this great institution, with its resources to search for the best examples of creativity in our world, has found me an interesting party. I will be forever grateful."

The Getty trust was started by businessman and art collector J Paul Getty in 1953. The institution and its museum are now housed at a Richard Meier-designed complex in the Santa Monica Mountains.

In August 2016, the Getty Foundation donated over $1 million to preserve modern architectural landmarks, including Lina Bo Bardi's first building and Eileen Gray's villa defaced by Le Corbusier.