Untitled [Crucifix]


Louise Henderson



  • Sculpture


  • Steel


  • Approx. H2500mm

Louise Henderson, ‘Untitled [Crucifix]’ (1960), Church of the Holy Cross, Henderson, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Image: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021


Louise Henderson completed two works for the Church of the Holy Cross: a pair of stained glass windows of Saints Peter and Paul, and the central crucifix.

At 2.5 metres high, the entire crucifix is made in black steel with the figure of Christ fabricated in welded plate. The whole is an imposing centrepiece to the church sanctuary. 

Inspired by her time in the Middle East, Henderson first modelled the figure in clay, actual size, and flat on the table: “I had to imagine what it would be like upright in the church.” From this design, Brigit Bryhn completed the welding for the figure under Henderson’s supervision. Natural light, which enters through the church windows, powerfully render the articulated, cubist planes of the sculpted body.

According to Henderson the new priest of the Church complained that the figure was "terrible and indecent! It needs a loin cloth! So I had the little cloth piece added…My little misery! He also burnt a print of The Sisters I had given the previous Father. I said 'Oh well…Jesus was crucified; why shouldn’t you burn the painting!'”

~ quotes and details courtesy of Linda Tyler.