Artitechture: Lost Art of the World Trade Center

World Trade Center Blast Folo

Artitechture: Lost Art

Today, on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we thought we’d take a look at some of the fantastic art that was lost to the world forever. Many works of art were destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks when the World Trade Center buildings collapsed. Some were also destroyed during the rescue efforts.

Although a piece of art cannot compare to the loss of a human life – these pieces were memorable and an important part of history, as well as an important part of each individual artists’ life. Many of the works featured here, were by famous artists, so they received the press. However, given the amount of wall space in the towers and the penchant for corporations to collect art and display art – I am sure there were countless pieces of wonderful art that were also lost, by lesser known artists.


Ideogram  James Rosati

Ideogram by James Rosati

(1967, stainless steel sculpture)


Cloud Fortress Masayuki Nagare

Cloud Fortress Masayuki Nagare

Cloud Fortress by Japanese artist Masayuki Nagare

Destroyed in the 9/11 rescue and recovery efforts, (1975, a large, black granite piece).



miro tapestry

The World Trade Center Tapestry by Joan Miró

A tapestry which hung in the South Tower Lobby. (1974, 20′ x 35″, wool & hemp)



Sky Gate Louise Nevelson

Sky Gate, New York by Louise Nevelson

(1977–78, large wooden sculpture)




Bent Propeller. 1970. Sheet metal, bolts, and paint. H.: 25 feet. Destroyed on September 11, 2001 during the attack on the World Trade Center.


WTC Stabile (also known as Bent Propeller) by Alexander Calder 

A 25′ red steel sculpture. Approximately 30% of the sculpture was recovered. (1970, Sheet metal, bolts, and paint)



Works by Auguste Rodin

The Rodin was a cast of his iconic The Thinker, inspired by Dante, that belonged to the Cantor Fitzgerald brokerage firm, which lost 650 employees in the attacks. Amazingly, the work actually survived the destruction “before mysteriously disappearing again.” Other reports indicate that the piece may in fact been stolen from ground zero after its recovery.

Auguste Rodin

Overall, some 300 sculptures and drawings by Rodin were lost, all part of the Cantor Fitzgerald collection. A bust from The Burghers of Calais, its mask of dignity now dented. Two of the three anguished figures from The Three Shades, broken almost beyond recognition.



Recollection Pond, a tapestry by Romare Bearden.


Jacques Lowe-John-F-Kennedy-001-1305231226_4_3

Approximately 40,000 negatives of photographs by Jacques Lowe documenting the presidency of John F. Kennedy.




Above: The Sphere, an abstract sculpture by Fritz Koenig as it stood before 9/11

The sculpture survived the collapse but was seriously damaged. (see our very top image.)

Also titled “Kugelkaryatide” or “Great Spherical Caryatid.”  The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, owner of the World Trade Center, commissioned the piece five years before the buildings were completed.

 Koenig cast the 25-foot high bronze and steel piece in 52 segments. He intended for the 45,000-pound sphere to symbolize world peace through world trade. Ironically, when finished it was installed amid a circle of fountains designed by Minoru Yamasaki, simulating the Grand Mosque of Mecca with the Kugelkaryatide standing in place of the Kaaba.

It has been restored and relocated and now serves as a memorial.

 Other lost works, (not pictured here): Path Mural by Germaine Keller, Commuter Landscape by Cynthia Mailman, Fan Dancing with the Birds by Hunt Slonem, The Entablature Series by Roy Lichtenstein, Needle Tower by Kenneth Snelson. Apparently, there were also original works by Pablo Picasso and David Hockney which were also lost, but our search proved fruitless for images.

Countless other works of art, original documents and valuable artifacts, found in safe deposit boxes located throughout the towers, were also destroyed.

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