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Arts

Sculptor Fritz Koenig of World Trade Center fame dies in Bavaria

Fritz Koenig, the renowned sculptor known for famous memorials around the world, has died. His best-known work survived the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York.

Born in 1924 in Würzburg, northern Bavaria, Fritz Koenig lived in Ganslberg near the Bavarian city of Landshut for much of his life. He died there on Wednesday evening, according to information from the Sculpture Museum in Landshut.

The museum's main body of work was donated by Koenig and his wife, Maria, in 1993. Apart from his own works, it includes objects from his significant private collection of African art.

After graduating from high school in 1942, Koenig studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and in 1964 became a professor of sculpture at the Technical University (TU) in Munich.

Fritz Koenig (picture-alliance/dpa/F. Mächler)

Koenig's "The Sphere" (seen above) was extracted from the rubble of the World Trade Center after the 2001 attack

Memorial to terrorism

In 1971, his "Kugelkaryatide N.Y.," also named "The Sphere," was erected between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. The spherical object, 8 meters (26 feet) in height, miraculously survived the attack 40 years later on September 11, 2001. As a memorial to terrorism, it now stands in Battery Park, only slightly damaged, near its original location.

"It was a sculpture; now it's a memorial," Koenig said at the time. "Now it has a different kind of beauty, one I never could have imagined. It has a life of its own - different from the one I gave it."

Koenig's wide body of work also includes memorials to the victims of the terror attack at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and at the former Mauthausen concentration camp. His works can also be seen in front of the German embassy in Madrid and in the Bellevue Palace park in Berlin.

After his wife's death in 2010, the artist withdrew from public life. "He wanted to die at the place where all his great works were created," said Stefanje Weinmayr, director of the Landshut Sculpture Museum.

rf/cmk (dpa, idowa, mdr)

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