Item BCHCC 2481 - Bertrand Imhoff

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Bertrand Imhoff

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BCHCC 2481

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  • [ca.19--] (Creation)

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1 photograph: b&w; 7.6 cm x 10.2 cm

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Studio portrait of the artist Bertrand Imhoff.

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Copyright: Public Domain

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Berthold Imhoff (1868 – 1939) was born into a wealthy, noble family 1868 in Mannheim, Germany. He was interested in art at an early age, receiving acclaim for his paintings by the time he was seven years old. Imhoff attended art schools in Karlsruhe, Halle, and Dusseldorf before studying at the Berlin Academy of Art, where he won the Art Academy Award for one of his paintings in 1884. After further studies in France, Italy, and England, Imhoff immigrated to the United States in 1892. He lived in Reading, Pennsylvania, until 1913, and painted many murals for public buildings, churches, and private commissions throughout the eastern United States. He continued this type of work when he moved to St. Walburg, Saskatchewan in 1913, seeking a more peaceful lifestyle.

Imhoff's interest in biblical and religious scenes, fostered by his early training, made his work highly desirable in an area in which most churches were still sparse, and many of them very poor. Imhoff frequently did not charge for his work, which was painted in a classical European style influenced by the work of Italian High Renaissance artists. His work at St. Peter's Cathedral in Muenster, for example, included 80 life-sized figures and took Imhoff a year to complete — but he refused payment. Other Saskatchewan churches that include Imhoff's works include those in St. Walburg, Bruno, Reward, St. Leo, Humboldt, Paradise Hill, Denzil, and North Battleford.

Imhoff did much of the work at his own studio on his farm for his murals and decorations which grace over 100 sites. His religious-themed work was complemented by many portraits, landscapes, and still-life pieces, some inspired by the scenery of Imhoff's 1,440 acres of properly. In 1937, Imhoff was named a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory by Pope Pius XI, in recognition of his religious artwork. Berthold Imhoff died in 1939 in St. Walburg, Saskatchewan. The 200 paintings left at his studio became accessible to the public after Imhoff's son Carl restored the studio; the site remains a popular tourist attraction and has received visitors from around the world. In addition, in 1983 the Imhoff Art Gallery was opened at the Barr Colony Museum in Lloydminster. The gallery houses over 250 of Imhoff's paintings. In 1998, a statue of Imhoff by artist Susan Velder was unveiled in St. Walburg.

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