erhard Munthe, studied 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 possible from the beach. Early on, Gerhard added the poetic Norwegian word 'Morgenstjerne' (Morningstar) to his name to distinguish himself from his uncle and namesake Gerhard Peter Frantz Wilhelm Munthe, a well-known landscape painter at the time.
Munthe was born in Düsseldorf in 1875 as the eldest son of a Norwegian father and a Dutch mother. His father was educated at the famous Düsseldorf Academy, where he was later appointed professor. Son Gerhard, who had inherited his father's painting talent, soon became a 'Meisterschüler' at the same academy. After the death of his father, his mother and her three children decided to return to the Netherlands and they settled in The Hague. Munthe soon found a studio there. After his marriage in 1901, he moved to Katwijk, which he already knew well from the family holidays the family had spent there. He had a house built on Noord Boulevard, which was named after the birth of his daughter Sigrid. There he was close to the beach and the sea, where he found inspiration for the subjects of his paintings every day. In 1908 the family moved to The Hague, in the spring of 1912 to Zierikzee for six months and in the autumn to Noordwijk. The family would eventually settle in Warmond near Leiden in 1922.
In The Hague, Munthe became a member of Pulchri Studio and was introduced to the artistic circles of The Hague by chairman Mesdag. Munthe, not really an association person and a rather reserved man, had to join art associations in order to find opportunities to exhibit his work. He also became a member of Arti and St. Lucas in Amsterdam and his paintings hung in the Stedelijk Museum between those of Willy Sluiter, Piet van der Hem and Kees Maks. In the Netherlands, art dealers such as Maison Artz in The Hague, De Bois in Haarlem and Sala in Leiden offered him a platform for exhibitions and sales. The exhibitions of Living Masters, which were always held in different cities, were also a good opportunity to present his work to the public. Munthe has exhibited abroad in Canada and at the Salon in Paris. He was awarded a gold medal at the International Exhibition in Montevideo Uruguay in 1913. Unfortunately, he never received it, because it got lost in the mail.
Munthe belonged to the younger generation of landscape painters of the late 19th and early 20th century who were still under the influence of the Hague School painters. Great examples for Munthe were Willem Mesdag, Jacob Maris and Anton Mauve with their beach and seascapes. An important difference between Munthe and his examples was the use of colour. In contrast to the Haagse Scholers who painted in greys, greens and browns, Munthe used more pastel shades, nuances of yellow, pink, lilac and turquoise. After 1912, these colors change to earth tones, bright yellow, red or blue. Munthe did not like to paint outside and used the sketches he made from nature in his studio. Or he painted the subjects of beach and sea from memory. Great examples for Munthe were Willem Mesdag and Jacob Maris. The critic A.C. Loffelt wrote about Munthe on 5 December 1900 in Het Nieuws van den Dag: 'His color is white and has something mother-of-pearl, which also makes our sea beaches so fascinating. The color of water and light is as softly radiant and tingling as the interior of a sea mussel. His choice of subjects is usually those of Mesdag, his pursuit of light and color is related to that of Jacob Maris.' But the same critic, who objected to the painter's fleeting sketchiness, also wrote: 'It is to be hoped that Munthe not sail too much in the wake of the impressionists, because we already have more than enough draft painters or impressionists in our country. He's not very original yet.'
Just like the many other painters who lived and painted in Katwijk around 1900, the bomb barge, the shell cart, the fishermen's wives and the netmakers were a recurring theme in Munthe's work that was popular with the public. He hardly occupied himself with other subjects, apart from the occasional winter landscape or forest scene. Munthe spent his last years in Warmond. He died in a hospital in Leiden in 1927 from a throat ailment, aged only 51.