The Times obituary 21 July 1998

Hans Feibusch, muralist and sculptor, died on July 18 aged 99. He was born August 15, 1898.

Hans Feibusch was a muralist and latterly a sculptor with an unfailing sense of the need of a wall painting or a piece of sculpture to respect the surrounding architecture. Probably he will be chiefly remembered for his mural painting in English churches - the middle of the 20th century seeing the full flowering of his art.

Born to Jewish parents in Frankfurt under the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Hans Feibusch served with the German Army in Russia during the First World War and, after a false start in medicine, began his art studies under Carl Hofer in Berlin. Gaining the Rome prize, he went to Italy, and then studies in Paris with Andre Lhote.

In 1930 he won the Prussian State Prize for painting, but then suffered under Hitler's ban (seeing his work destroyed) and fled to England. Here he married Sidonie Gestetner (herself born and educated in England), who, he fondly recalled, "controlled my tendency to use the wrong prepositions".

Welcome almost as soon as he came to England by the London Group, he soon established himself with his murals in churches. The first of these, a Footwashing in 1938 in Colliers Wood Methodist Church, was brought to the notice of George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, by Kenneth Clark: a friendship grew, the victim of the European catastrophe and the statesman bishop with a cultured understanding of Germany having much in common.

Bell helped Feibusch towards his early commission for murals in Anglican places of worship. Notable examples are in St Wilfred's Brigton (1941), Iden Parish Church (1950), Chichester Cathedral (1951, recently renewed), Goring by-Sea (1954), Preston Parich Church (1956), St Alban's Holborn (1956) and the West London Synagogue (1973). By no mean all his commissions were for churches and synagogues. Civic examples included Dudley Tower Hall and Newport Civic Centre, Gwent, and domestic settings were provided by James Laver and Canon C.B. Mortlock.

Architects who counted themselves fortunate to be collaborating with a painter who always worked "with the building" were Harold Gibbsons, Thomas F. Ford, E.Maxwell Fry, H. S. Goodhart-Rendel and Sir Charles Reilly.

The religious painting of Hans Feibusch exhibit brilliant colour and a composition with is generally suave and classical, often lyrical: he was a man who valued warmth and passions in religion, knew how to project joy and sorrow in his painting, sorrow for European conflict being for many decades a keenly felt emotion (thus a Nailing of Christ of 1985 is titled Hommage a Popiusko).

A sudden less of sign in 1970 (from which he was to make a partial recovery) led Feibusch into the more tactile art of sculpture. Here again the works related beautifully to the architecture of, for example, Ely Cathedral (Christus, 1981), and St. Alban's Holborn (Christ Raised form the Dead, 1985).

Delightful in conversation, Feibusch had a gentle and retiring nature, but kept up a stern routine of daily studio work until six months before his death. His own country made amends, conferring on him in 1967 the German Cross of the Order of Merit (1st class), and for his 90th birthday his native Frankfurt honored him with a substantives retrospective exhibition. In the same year he received the Insignia of a Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit, bestowed by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany.

In his last years he is though to have been the sole survivor of Hitler's infamous Entartete Kunst exhibition. A substantial retrospective, 1996 The Heat of Vision, toured this country in 1995-6, beginning at Chichester.

His devoted work for churches in Britain was recognised in 1985 when Dr Robert Runcie, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, conferred on him Lambeth D.Ltt "in recognition of his services in promoting the Association of Artist and the Church through his work as painter, sculptor and writer". In the last capacity Hans Feibusch sounded a still much-needed call for quality in church commission in his Mural Painting (1946): "It is for the leaders of the Church to commission the best artist, the real representatives of our time, to give them intelligent guidance, and to have sufficient confidence in their artistic and human qualify to give them free play".

In the early 1990s Feibusch formally left the Church of England, returning to his Jewish roots. His wife Sidonie died in 1963, and there were no children of the marriage.