German sculptor’s art withstood 9/11 attack
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.