Arthur Paunzen was born on 4 February 1890 in Vienna to Jewish parents, Leopold Paunzen and Hermine née Kuhn. There is not much information about Paunzen's childhood, though we know he studied with Ludwig Koch in Vienna, and also in France at Académie Julian under Jean Pierre Laurens. He traveled Italy studying art and architecture, which was very common for his time.
In 1918 Paunzen married Cornelia Westreich in Vienna and there, created a number of works that make bold symbolic attempts to convey music as images. However, in 1938, as Hitler rose to power, Paunzen moved to Great Britain. In a panic measure a few years later, the British authorities interned all German and Austrian citizens in the country, including all those who were Jews fleeing Nazi oppression, in May 1940.
Arthur Paunzen died on 9 August 1940 in Central Internment Camp, Douglas, Isle of Man. His death is described by his friend and fellow-internee, the composer Hans Gál, in his internment diary. He died of severe bronchial pneumonia, exacerbated, according to Gál's account, by neglect on the part of the authorities. He is buried in the Jewish section of Douglas Borough Cemetery, Isle of Man.
A number of his pieces have been collected by the British Museum, the Stockholm Engraving Collection and the Albertina Museum in Vienna. The remainder of work was kept by his wife and passed on to his remaining family members who were able to escape to the United States. The Zippers and Horowitz families have passed these remaining originals and lithographs to Alex and Courtney Perry, who have curated this display for the Johnson County Library System through The Arts Asylum.