Before a recent visit to St. Walburg, I’m not going to lie, I had no idea who the heck Berthold Von Imhoff was.
So to help inform anyone who is like me (clueless), here are some Imhoff facts to get you in the know:
- Berthold Von Imhoff was born in Germany, 149 years ago.
- His artistic abilities were recognized early on, and at the ripe old age of 16, Imhoff painted his famous “The Glory of Emperor Frederick William” piece, which earned him the Art Academy Award of Berlin. (I’m not entirely sure what this is, but it sounds like a big deal.)
- At age 24 he immigrated to America where he painted public buildings, usually churches, and private homes throughout the eastern United States.
- In 1913, at age 46, Imhoff joined the wave of settlers heading for Saskatchewan and decided to set up camp in what is now known as St. Walburg. He chose the area because the untouched nature reminded him of the German countryside of his youth where he hunted, fished and rode horseback with his father.
- He painted several Roman Catholic churches throughout Saskatchewan, transforming sparse walls and ceilings into works of art. These were often completed for minimal payment and, in some cases, were donated outright.
- As a result of his generosity to the churches of Saskatchewan, Imhoff was awarded the Knighthood of St. Gregory the Great by the Pope in 1937.
It was in his St. Walburg studio that Imhoff produced much of his artwork, including still lifes, portraits of early First Nations chiefs, European leaders and royalty, and American presidents.
Upon his death in 1939, Berthold Von Imhoff left over 250 paintings in his studio, some of which remain there today while others are on display at the Cultural Science Centre in nearby Lloydminster.
Thanks for reading.