Berthold Imhoff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Berthold von Imhoff
Born January 14, 1868
Mannheim, Germany
Died December 14, 1939
St. Walburg, Saskatchewan, Canada
Nationality German, American, Canadian
Known for frescoes, oil paintings
Spouse(s) Matilda Johner
Awards Order of St. Gregory the Great

Count Berthold von Imhoff (January 14, 1868 – December 14, 1939), was an artist known for his religious murals and paintings. Born in Germany in 1868, Imhoff immigrated to the United States with his family and settled in Reading, Pennsylvania, where he established a successful art and fresco business. He left Reading in 1914 and made his home and studio in the St. Walburg, Saskatchewan area in Canada. From there he decorated churches in many rural villages of Saskatchewan and North Dakota as well as returning to Reading for commissioned work.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Imhoff was born in Mannheim, Germany to Count Leopold and Rosina (Allgeier) Von Imhoff. At age 12, he started studying at various European art schools including Oberwinter, Halle-an-der-Halle, and the art institute at Karlsruhe, Baden. In 1884, Imhoff won the Art Academy Award of Berlin for his painting The Glory of Emperor Frederick. $3000 was offered for the painting, but he refused, and the painting is now on display at the Lloydminster Cultural and Science Centre in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. At age 20, Imhoff began studying figure work at the art academy at Düsseldorf.[4]

Life in North America[edit]

In 1891, Berthold Imhoff married Matilde Johner, the daughter of Joseph Johner, who was one of his teachers at Bonndorf. Berthold Imhoff began to feel oppressed by European society, and decided to move to North America. His family settled in Reading, Pennsylvania where he established an art and fresco business. Imhoff's fame soon escalated as he travelled the eastern United States painting churches and homes of wealthy industrialists. As the eastern United States began to become an industrial powerhouse, Imhoff decided to move to Canada. Searching for a quiet, peaceful place to work on his art, Imhoff, Matilde, and six of his seven children moved to what is now St. Walburg, Saskatchewan in 1914. Once in Saskatchewan, Imhoff started painting many of the small churches which dot the prairie landscape near his home, often for free or for very little pay. In 1926, Imhoff completed what some people consider his masterpiece: the cathedral in Reading, Pennsylvania. Many of the 226 life-sized paintings were started in his studio in Saskatchewan and then transported to Reading where they were then completed by him and his family.[4][5] In 1937 he was awarded a Knighthood in the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Pius XI.[1] He died in 1939 and is buried in the St. Walburg Roman Catholic Cemetery next to his wife Matilda. A life size equestrian statue[1] honouring Imhoff by St. Walburg artist Susan Velder[6] is located in the village. The Imhoff Gallery which includes his studio, home and farm is now a heritage site.[7]


Imhoff decorated over 90 churches.[8] Examples of his work can be seen in churches at Carmel, St. Benedict, Bruno, Denzil, St. Leo, North Battleford in Saskatchewan[9] and at the following locations.


  • St. Walburg & District Historical Museum (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church)[10]

United States[edit]

  • Sts. Peter & Paul Roman Catholic Church in Strasburg, North Dakota[24]
  • Other works by Imhoff in the Reading, Pennsylvania area might still exist at the following locations.[30]
    • St. John's Catholic Church at Pottsville
    • St. Mary's Catholic Church at York
    • German Catholic Church at Hazleton
    • Catholic Church at Williamsport
    • Trinity Lutheran Church, Reading
    • Lithuanian Catholic Church, Mahanoy City
    • Baptist Church, Reading
    • Spies's Union Church, Alsace township
    • Reformed Church, Hazleton
    • Lutheran Church, Myerstown
    • St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church, Reading[31]



  1. ^ a b c "Count Berthold Von Imhoff". Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  2. ^ "Virtual Saskatchewan (Count Berthold Von Imhoff)". Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  3. ^ "Imhoff Gallery". Archived from the original on 2014-08-27. Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  4. ^ "Reading Eagle - Mar 15, 1972 by Wayne E. Homan". Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  5. ^ "Saskatchewan Artist (Susan Velder)". Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  6. ^ "Imhoff Gallery" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  7. ^ "Count Berthold Von Imhoff". Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  8. ^ "The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan (IMHOFF, BERTHOLD JOHN VON)". Retrieved 2012-12-10. 
  9. ^ "A drive through the count's country (St. Walburg & District Historical Museum)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-03-26. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  10. ^ "Imhoff Museum & Art Gallery". Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  11. ^ "St. Peter's Cathedral". Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  12. ^ "Holy Rosary Church" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  13. ^ "Our Lady of Sorrows". Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  14. ^ "Assumption Catholic Church". Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  15. ^ "Permanent Exhibits & Galleries (Lloydminster Cultural and Science Centre)". Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  16. ^ "Sacred Heart Cathedral". Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  17. ^ "Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan (ROMAN CATHOLIC CATHEDRALS)". Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  18. ^ "Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church". Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  19. ^ "NDSU Libraries (Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church)". Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  20. ^ "St. Mary's Catholic Church". Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  21. ^ "NDSU Libraries (Holy Trinity Catholic Church)". Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  22. ^ "NDSU Libraries (Blessed Trinity Catholic Church)". Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  23. ^ "NDSU Libraries (Strasburg's Historic Church Sts. Peter & Paul)". Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  24. ^ "First United Church of Christ". Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  25. ^ "St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church". Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  26. ^ "Development of the Catholic Faith in Berks County (Church of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Bally, PA)". Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  27. ^ "St. Paul's United Church of Christ". Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  28. ^ "Salem Reformed UCC marks 275th anniversary". Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  29. ^ "Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery (1909) IMHOFF, BERTHOLD J.(p. 495)". Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  30. ^ "St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church". Retrieved 2012-12-19.