Arthur Paunzen Biography

Arthur Paunzen




Arthur Paunzen, printmaker, painter, sculptor, and illustrator, was born on February 4, 1890 in Vienna, Austria to parents Leopold Paunzen and Hermine (née Kuhn). He studied with Ludwig Koch in Vienna before traveling to France, enrolling in courses at Académie Julian under Jean Pierre Laurens. He then traveled to Italy studying art and architecture, a common practice for European art students at the time. In 1918 Paunzen married Cornelia Westreich (1894-1971) in Vienna, and began exhibiting.

Paunzen's work often centered around music and literature in an attempt to visually translate their meaning. Among his better known translations were Beethoven’s Eroica (Third) Symphony, and Gustav Mahler's song cycle, the "Song of the Earth", as well the etchings he created of Dostoyevsky's character Raskolnikov. In the 1920s he began to establish a career as an illustrator and found footing in the periodical Die Muskete and the book Spuk by Herbert Barder. By the 1930s his engravings were gaining interest internationally and were puchased by the British Museum and the Stockholm Engraving Collection, as well as the Albertina Museum in Vienna.

In June of 1938, as Hitler rose to power, Paunzen - who was Jewish - emigrated to Hove, East Sussex, England, assisted by London gallerist Lionel J. Rothschild and the congregation of St. John's Reverand Arthur C. Macnutt. Once settled, Paunzen was able to open a studio and store the artworks he'd brought with him when he and Cornelia fled Austria. However, on May 12, 1940 British parliament declared all male Germans and Austrians "enemy aliens" and interned them, including those fleeing persecution by the Nazis. Arthur Paunzen was arrested and, three months later, died on August 9, 1940 in Central Internment Camp, Douglas, Isle of Man. He was buried in the Jewish section of the Douglas Borough Cemetary.

Paunzen's work is held in the permanent collection sof the Beethover-Haus (Bonn); Albertina Museum (Vienna); the British Museum; Princeton University Library; the Cleveland Museum of Art, among others.