Restoration Started

001                                     RESTORATION STARTED

                    Restoration of paintings by German artist.

                       Count Berthold Von Imhoff, 1889-1939.

                                   A little history of the artist. 

In a castle rising from the wooded banks of the Rhine was the birthplace of Count Berthold Von Imhoff.  By the time he was seven his canvasses were echoing the deep and quiet beauty of the Rhineland.

He was sent to art schools of high repute at Halle and Dusseldorf, where he acquired his technique of bold vigorous brushwork colors and strong contrasts.  Imhoff was still a youth of 16 when he painted Germany’s prince Frederick William mounted on a charger and refused an offer of $3000 for the picture.  This artist won the Art Academy Award in Berlin at the age of 16. He Studied with the Masters in Brussels, where he became a Master of ecclesiastical art.

At 24, oppressed with the inflexibility of European society, the artist nobleman left his homeland to settle in Reading, Pennsylvania.  There he became an itinerant artist, traveling throughout the eastern United States, painting in public buildings, usually churches, and private homes.  In the Reading Cathedral he labored for more than a year on a mural incorporating 226 life size figures.  But as Reading grew larger and demands for his work increased, Imhoff felt the return of society’s unwitting tyranny.

Early in 1913 he joined the wave of settlers heading for Saskatchewan’s northwest frontier.  His search for an isolated retreat brought him to what is today St. Walburg, Saskatchewan, Canada.

In the quarter century which followed, Imhoff covered canvas after canvas while working in his lavishly decorated studio, and enriched 95 churches and 15 residences throughout the provinces and the states with his religious paintings, usually executed without payment.  In Saskatchewan he did some Protestant churches. In Pennsylvania he did Lutheran, M.E., and Baptist churches. He also painted for the Denver National Bank in Denver, Colorado, and the chapel in St. Alexian Hospital, Elizabeth, New Jersey.

His work for the Roman Catholic Church earned him a knighthood, bestowed by the Pope in 1937.

Though unaffected by the French Impressionists of the late nineteenth century, he did make minor concessions to the New World by choosing incidents from Canadian history as subjects for some of his canvasses.  The solemnity and sentiment which appeared in his early portrait of Prince Frederick William never left his work.

In 1939 Imhoff died, leaving behind over 200 paintings in his studio.  Now housed in a museum at Muenster, Saskatchewan.  None of these have ever been sold.  Today the studio at St. Walburg is cared for by members of the family and remains one of the outstanding tourist attractions of Saskatchewan’s northwest.

History printed  1989,  Portrait of a Church, by Tyrase Mack Wald.

This is where I step in to recover the lost beauty of the painting pictured above. I must keep in mind that I am the restorer, not the artist.  This will no doubt be harder to adhere to as the painting is so damaged.  I started with relining the canvas to the back to help the pigments left stay in place.  I am using professional quality products by Gainsborough Products LLC, of Martinez CA.

What's new in my studio by Judy Bell

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