Originally from Norway, Gerhard Munthe was educated at the art academy in Düsseldorf, where he became interested in painting beach scenes. In 1901 he settled in the fishing village of Katwijk, popular with painters of that time. Katwijk was one of the last fishing villages on the Dutch coast where fishing was still done from the beach. The move brought him close to the sea and the beach, which provided a lot of inspiration for his paintings. Gerhard added the poetic Norwegian word 'Morgenstjerne' (Morningstar) to his name early on to distinguish himself from his uncle and namesake Gerhard Peter Frantz Wilhelm Munthe, a well-known landscape painter at the time.