Berthold von Imhoff

  • Still life of Berthold von Imhoff © Berthold von Imhoff
    Still life of Berthold von Imhoff
  • Still life of Berthold von Imhoff © Berthold von Imhoff
    Still life of Berthold von Imhoff

Berthold von Imhoff

Nestled in the prairie bluffs of the rolling plains near St. Walburg in northern Saskatchewan stands one of the most unique art galleries in North America. The gallery was built in 1920 by the German-Canadian liturgical artist Berthold von Imhoff (1868-1939) who lived and painted there for 25 years.

A good number of his paintings adorn the studio walls while most are in storage, many rolled up and unseen for 65 years since the artist’s passing. Most of these works portray the life of Christ, the Holy Family, the Saints and the Apostles. They all have vibrant colours and many feature 22.5k gold leafing. Many are larger than life. Imhoff also painted more than 110 church interiors during his prolific career, mostly in Pennsylvania, but also at least 12 churches in Saskatchewan. St. Peter’s Cathedral near Muenster, Saskatchewan is one of his masterpieces. A bronze statue of the artist on horseback by Saskatchewan sculptor Susan Velder has been a tourist attraction in St. Walburg since 1998. It has been said that Imhoff paintings are able to open windows between heaven and earth. The studio and farm site was awarded a Provincial Heritage Designation in 2005.

Imhoff created “The Glory of Prince Frederick William” (King of Prussia for 90 days), at age 16, a painting that won him the Art Academy Award of Berlin in 1884.

Over 250 of his canvases are displayed on long-term lease in Lloydminster at the Barr Colony Heritage Cultural Centre. In 1937, Pope Pious XI conferred on Imhoff a knighthood (Ordo Sancti Gregorii Magni) for his outstanding illustrations of scripture and contributions to the Catholic Church.

 Website of the gallery