Together with Franz Marc, August Macke and Wassily Kandinsky, among others, Gabriele Münter (1877–1962) founded the German artist group Der Blaue Reiter in 1911. To begin with they lacked any real manifesto, but the members of the group all manifested a spontaneous, intuitive approach to painting and attributed particular significance to the relationship between music and visual art. They were drawn towards the contemporary, non-figurative art scene in Paris, but were also interested in the Middle Ages and various forms of “primitive” art. In general one can say that their idiom and mode of expression are characterised by a bright palette, continuous colour planes and rough, angular contours. They wished to convey subjective and spiritual experiences via the associative qualities of colour. Along with the contemporaneous artist group Die Brücke, Der Blaue Reiter had a decisive influence on the development of what in the anals of art history has been given the collective term Expressionism.
During the years 1915–20 Gabriele Münter lived in Scandinavia, and the present painting is particularly interesting in a Norwegian context because of its motif. Narvik Harbourwas most likely painted in 1916 when she was travelling around Norway. The painting is characteristic of Münter’s works of this period; with a distinctly naïve approach to the motif, an intense and clear palette, pronounced contours and a emphasis on the picture’s two-dimensional, flat character.