Born of a noble Nürnberg family, Paul Praun enjoyed an excellent education. He showed an early interest in art, voyaging to Italy at the age of fifteen to begin collecting fine artwork. He spent fifteen years in Italy, during which time he secured such treasures as several drawings by Vasari. Praun also maintained several German contacts who assisted him in building his collection, among them were: Jacob Springli at Zürich, Jobst Amman, Peter Schaubruck, and Lucas von Volkenburg. In addition, he consulted the two famous Nürnberg goldsmiths, Christoph Albrecht and Wenzel Jamnitzer. Praun acquired most of his Dürer pieces from Wenzel who had a direct contact to Andreas, Dürer's brother. Praun's collecting eventually led him to found the Praun Museum. He died in Bologna in 1616, leaving his collection in perpetual trust to his decendants. In 1801, the family decided to sell the collection to an art dealer named Frauenholz, who sold only part at auction in 1802.
Inventar des Paulus von Praunschen Kunstkabinetts im Stiftungshaus am alten Weinmarkt... (1719), unpublished manuscript.