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East German artist Willi Sitte dead at 92

FILE - In this March 10, 2007 file picture German painter Willi Sitte waits in the gallery for contemporary Art in front of his self-portrait 'Me and Kosovo' (1999) in Merseburg, Germany. According to German news agency Dpa, painter Willi Sitte died on Saturday June 8, 2013 in his house in Halle, eastern Germany. He was 92. (AP Photo/dpa,Waltraud Grubitzsch,FileFILE - In this March 10, 2007 file picture German painter Willi Sitte waits in the gallery for contemporary Art in front of his self-portrait 'Me and Kosovo' (1999) in Merseburg, Germany. According to German news agency Dpa, painter Willi Sitte died on Saturday June 8, 2013 in his house in Halle, eastern Germany. He was 92. (AP Photo/dpa,Waltraud Grubitzsch,File

BERLIN (AP) — Willi Sitte, one of East Germany's most eminent artists and a key representative of Communism's preferred socialist realism painting style, has died at 92.

The head of the Willi Sitte Foundation, Hans-Hubert Werner, told German news agency dpa that Sitte died on Saturday morning after a long illness.

FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2006 file picture Willi Sitte is pictured in Merseburg, Germany. According to German news agency dpa, painter Willi Sitte died on Saturday June 8, 2013 in his house in Halle, eastern Germany. He was 92. (AP Photo/dpa,Peter Endig,File)FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2006 file picture Willi Sitte is pictured in Merseburg, Germany. According to German news agency dpa, painter Willi Sitte died on Saturday June 8, 2013 in his house in Halle, eastern Germany. He was 92. (AP Photo/dpa,Peter Endig,File)

Sitte's paintings depicted factory workers or farmers as glamorized ideals of Communist heroes. Among his famous works are voluptuous, often nude women.

He was the president of East Germany's association of visual artists from 1974 to 1988 and also a member of the ruling party's central committee. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and Germany's unification, Sitte was seen in a more controversial light because of his closeness to the Communist regime.