Saturday, 15 March 2014

Arthur Paunzen, a forgotten etcher

Arthur Paunzen

(Vienna 1890- 1940 Isle of Man)

Austrian etcher print- and bookplate maker.


I would have never dreamed finding this portrait of an old lady and investigate it’s maker would lead me from a turn of the century Vienna bakery to the Isle of Man all the way to Manila in the Philippines but also to Beethoven's mask.
Arthur Paunzen first studied art in Vienna, under Ludwig Koch. He was born the son of a baker in Vienna. He then moved to Paris and studied at the Academie Julian, under Jean Pierre Laurens. Shortly after the end of World War One (1914-1918) Arthur Paunzen began exhibiting his art in both Austria and Germany (Paunzen however was a self-taught graphic artist). 
   Gustav Mahler,                    portrait of an unknown man. 
Among his most famous works at this time were his symbolic etchings based upon masterworks of classical music, such as, "Phantasien uber Beethoven-Symphonien" (Fantasies upon Beethoven Symphonies) and Gustav Mahler’s, "Das Lied von der Erde" (Songs of the Earth).

As Arthur Paunzen was Jewish, he fled Austria in 1938 (the year Hitler annexed the country) and settled in England. Regrettably, in 1940, British war measures called for the internment of all Austrians and Germans, regardless of refugee status. 

Arthur Paunzen was taken to the Central Internment Camp, Douglas, Isle of Man, and died several months later of bronchial pneumonia. The composer, Hans Gal (1890-1987) was also interned there, and wrote in his diary (“Music Behind Barbed Wire”) that Paunzen’s death occurred at least partly through medical neglect.

This Ludwig Beethoven (1770-1927) portrait, I think his finest of the several he made, is after the mask made from Beethovens face by Franz Klein in 1812 when Beethoven was 42. The mask was commissioned by the fortepiano-building family Nanette and Andreas Streicher. Most of Beethovens many portraits are based on this mask. Like my favorite by Franz Hanfstaengl (1804-1877) and looking over my piano and this haunting and most realistic composite image of Beethoven by Gwen Baloch of the American Beethoven Society.     

Pauntzen will have known famous dancer Trudl Dubsky (1913-1976) well enough to take her clothes of and sit (or dance) for him for this personal bookplate. He was also acquainted with conductor-composer and music teacher Herbert Zipper (1904-1997). 

This couple met and married in 1939 in Manila before the War and later moved to California. Dubsky worked in Vienna and London before she moved to the Philippines and Ziller, as a jew, miraculously surviving Dachau concentration camp but was later again interned by the Japanese when they captured the city of Manila. 

Trudl Zipper-Dubsky left her memories in a delightful book showing she was besides a famous dancer an accomplished painter too. Her account of "Manila as I saw it” in watercolours was created in 1945-46.  Read more about this interesting couple here*.

Arthur Pauntzen’s biography I borrowed from “Art ofthe print” a print gallery in Ontario and source of many fine prints and also of artist information. Paunzens  works are collected in Vienna, in Princetown, the Albertina and in the British Museum.


 Galerie Souris

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly educational and non commercial use only. 

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