Joseph Koenig is identified only by a slip of paper that was attached to his shrine [Crucifixion Shrine, SAAM, 1986.65.254A‑D] when it was purchased. According to the same source, Koenig moved from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin with his family and made a shrine for his house where it was used for devotions until the community could erect a church. The composition and figures resemble northern European, baroque church carving of the type that was widely copied in churches in the United States. Koenig may have based his carving on such models, which could be found throughout Pennsylvania. The sides and back of the shrine are made of boards from shipping cases manufactured in New York between 1865 and 1892.
Lynda Roscoe Hartigan Made with Passion: The Hemphill Folk Art Collection in the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990)
Very little is known about Joseph Koenig, except that his family came from Pennsylvania. He may have based his carvings on a style copied from baroque church sculpture in Europe, which was revived in the United States in the late nineteenth century. (Lynda Hartigan, Made with Passion, 1990)