About the artist
Gerhard Munthe, originally from Norway, educated at the art academy in Düsseldorf, where he gained an interest for painting beach scenes. In 1901 he settled in the fishing village of Katwijk, popular with painters of the time. The move brought him close to the sea and beach which provided ample inspiration for his paintings. Early on Gerhard added the poetic Norwegian word 'Morgenstjerne' (Morningstar) to his name in order to distinguish himself from his uncle and namesake Gerhard Peter Frantz Wilhelm Munthe, then a well-known landscape painter.
Gerhard Munthe was the eldest son of the Norwegian painter Luwig Munthe and Lena Vlierboom, a shipowner's daughter from Rotterdam. He grew up in Düsseldorf and attended the art academy there. At an early age, Munthe added the poetic epithet 'Morgentjerne' (Norwegian for morning star) to his name, to distinguish himself from his uncle and namesake Gerhard Peter Frantz Wilhelm Munthe, then a well-known landscape painter.
Munthe developed an interest in painting beach scenes early on. At a young age he traveled with his father during the summers to Katwijk aan Zee. When his father died in 1897, he and his mother settled permanently in the Netherlands, first in The Hague. In 1901 he moved into a house in Katwijk with his wife Christine van Gendt. Later he moved several times, eventually to Noordwijk and Noordwijkerhout.
Munthe was strongly influenced by the painters of the Hague School, more in particular Jacob Maris, Hendrik Willem Mesdag and Anton Mauve. He mainly painted beach scenes in soft pastel shades. In 1900, critic AC Loffelt wrote in the Nieuws van de Dag: "his color is white and has something pearly, which also makes our beaches so fascinating, <...>, his choice of subjects is usually that of Mesdag, his pursuit of light and color is related to that of Jacob Maris. The color of water and light is as softly radiant and tingling as the interior of a sea mussel. He knows how to portray a moderate surf with great feeling and good taste."
After 1912 Munthe's brushstroke became thinner and he started to use more pronounced earth colours, with a transition into a bright red or blue. Around 1920 he started to look for a tighter, more stylized composition. His theme, the activity of fishermen's life on the beach, was fairly one-sided.
Munthe was a member of the Pulchri Studio in The Hague and Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam. In 1905 and 1910 he exhibited in the Paris salon. He died in 1927 of a throat disorder in a hospital in Leiden, aged 51. His work can be seen in the Kröller-Müller Museum and the Katwijks Museum, among others. He was a prolific painter. His work frequently appears at auctions.