Religious themes often find their way into Fritz Koenig's work (1924-2017) as commissioned works, especially in his early years, but are also created on his own impetus. The "Encounter" small sculpture, a depiction of the Descent from the Cross, was created in the last year of Koenig's studies at the Munich Academy. The 28-year-old was a master student of Anton Hiller (1893-1985) back then. By reducing the physical forms to what is symbolically necessary, Koenig succeeds in creating an associative picture story in the viewer's mind: the Descent from the Cross stands for Christ redeemed by death. At the same time, however, the arrangement of the figures and their artistic approach recall the misery Jesus suffered on the Way of the Cross. The human figure as subject and the "primacy of pure form" accomplished at the same time are academically influenced and follow a line of development that appeared in the "Works of European Sculpture" exhibition in 1950. Four Munich sculptors and academy professors, among them Josef Wackerle (1880-1959) , whose sculpture class Koenig moved from to Anton Hiller, organised the exhibition shown at the Haus der Kunst. They wanted "to formulate an art history and artistic commitment to a clear interpretation and line of development of sculpture in the young Federal Republic"(D. Schöne, in: the brochure for the "What was Europe?" exhibition from 29 June 2018 to 2 June 2019 at Kunsthaus Dahlem, Berlin, 2018, quotes p.3, 9 and 12.)


Stephanie Gilles M.A.

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