Born in Bremen, Germany, Pansing became a sailor at age 16. After five years at sea, he settled in Hoboken, New Jersey establishing himself as a marine painter and portraitist in 1865. With excellent draftsmanship he also worked in New York City and Brooklyn as an artist illustrating sheet music and painting names on steamboats.
In the late 1890's, Pansing worked for American Lithography in Jersey city. On the side he created oil paintings which have been celebrated for their "luminous color and finely detailed lines", attributes which were easily translated into this printed medium, typically published as chromolithographs.
He is best known for painting steamships for prestigious ocean lines with regular commissions from Cunard and White Star Lines. They were seen as sailing posters, promotional materials aboard ships and in ticket offices. His paintings were also reproduced to grace postcards and puzzles for transatlantic passengers' souvenirs; historical mementos from a romantic era.