Paneth was born in Sukdall, Austria in 1895. Growing up in an academic family in Vienna.
Paneth was a talented painter, art therapist and pedagogue. She studied under the painter Franz Cizek; an Austrian genre and portrait painter, who had a significant impact on how Paneth later used art as a therapy.
Paneth’s husband Otto was Jewish; it was through his father, Joseph Paneth that Marie became acquainted with Sigmund Freud. Joseph Paneth was also known for his correspondence with philosopher Friedrich Nietzche.
In the late 1930’s the family moved to Britain where Paneth spent much of the Second World War working with orphaned and delinquent children alongside another Viennese contemporary, Sigmund Freud’s daughter Anna Freud, who played a key part in caring for the Boys.
It was during this time that she began using the radical and progressive idea of art as therapy for young people. This technique was pioneered by Paneth and subsequently brought to the Windermere reception centre, where she held classes each afternoon, making materials available in a congenial and friendly environment.
Some of the pictures the Boys created depicted the concentration camps, or symbolised the students attitude towards life, but many of the children chose subject matter such as pleasant landscapes or formal patterns.
This profile was written by Ruby Kwartz.
Some of the children involved in Paneth’s art groups later travelled to New York to be involved in the launch of an exhibition that featured their work.
After her time at Windermere, Paneth continued her work with traumatized children and adolescents. Paneth died in 1986.