Ger­man sculp­tor’s art with­stood 9/11 at­tack

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - LOCAL - As­so­ci­ated Press

BERLIN— Fritz Koenig, a Ger­man sculp­tor whose work “The Sphere” be­came a sym­bol of re­silience af­ter the9/11at­tacks in­NewYork, has died. He­was 92.

Koenig, a well-known artist thanks to his dis­tinc­tive large stat­ues and sculp­tures, cre­ated the ball­shaped bronze over a fouryear pe­riod start­ing in 1967.

Orig­i­nally called “Grosse Kugelka­ry­atide N.Y.,” the 25-foot-tall sculp­ture stood at the foot of the World Trade Cen­ter from1971un­til Sept.11, 2001, whenal-Qaida hi­jack­ers flew air­lin­ers into the twin tow­ers.

It­was re­cov­ered fromthe rub­ble— heav­ily dented but struc­turally in­tact — and was moved to Bat­tery Park, where it now stands along­side an eter­nal flame ded­i­cated to the peo­ple who died. A plaque notes that the sculp­ture was con­ceived as a sym­bol of world peace.

Koenig said it­was a mir­a­cle that “The Sphere” had sur­vived, not­ing at the time: “It was a sculp­ture, now it’s amemo­rial.”

The artist­was born in the Bavar­ian city ofWuerzburg in 1924. Af­ter serv­ing in the Ger­man army dur­ingWorld War II, Koenig stud­ied at the Mu­nich Academy of Fine Art. He par­tic­i­pated in the 1958 Venice Bi­en­nale and had his first showin the United States atNewYork’s Staempfli Gallery in1961.

Af­ter the 1972 at­tack on the Mu­nich Olympics, Koenig cre­ated a gran­ite beam to com­mem­o­rate the 11 Is­raeli team mem­bers and a Ger­man po­lice of­fi­cer whowere killed. An­other of his works stands promi­nently as a memo­rial to the peo­ple­mur­dered by theNazis at the for­mer Mau­thausen con­cen­tra­tion camp in Aus­tria.

Many of his pieces can be found at the Sculp­tureMu­seum in Lands­berg.

The dpa news agency re­ported Koenig died late Wed­nes­day at his home in Alt­dorf, about 31 miles north­east of Mu­nich. His death was con­firmed Thurs­day.

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