Viennese Refugee Artist Arthur Paunzen

Arthur Paunzen. Self Portrait (Vienna-Unterdöbling), 1923. Lithograph,  44.9 x 34.3 cm.  Private collection Berlin. Photo:

In June of 1938, Viennese artist Arthur Paunzen and wife Cornelia (née Westreich) fled Nazi Austria for England with 504 drawings and graphics … and one violin. Paunzen was a gifted and prolific graphic artist and painter whose work spans the dramatic to the whimsical. Running through it all is a deep attachment to place, people, literature and, almost always, music. His bookplates are penetrating psychograms that offer a portrait of Viennese intellectual life between the end of World War One and the Anschluss. Assisted by London gallerist Lionel J. Rothschild (Sackville Gallery) and the Rev. Arthur C. Macnutt (Vicar at St. John’s Church), Paunzen and “Nelly” found refuge in Hove, East Sussex, where, for a short time, he had a small studio. On 12/13 May 1940, Paunzen and other innocent refugees were arrested as enemy aliens by agents of the Home Office and taken to the holding camp at the Brighton race course – one of many such camps throughout the U. K. that had been readied secretly for the great Whitsun „round-up“. From there he was transported to the Huyton (Liverpool) processing camp and onward across the Irish Sea to Central Camp Douglas on the Isle of Man where he died of tuberculosis and medical neglect in the night of 8 August, 1940.

Over the past years we have put together a large collection of Paunzen’s works and documented many more in private and public collections. Our efforts to fulfill Nelly Paunzen’s last wish to create an exhibition of her husband’s works continue unabated.

We call upon collectors and institutions everywhere to contact us concerning works by Paunzen in their collections and to assist us in tracking down letters that were included in an assortment of Paunzen’s etchings sold at auction in the U. K. in 2006. Please contact us concerning any matters related to this artist’s life before and after Austria’s annexation in 1938.

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