In 1932, the poet and writer Hanns Heinen (1895-1961) acquired a half-timbered ensemble consisting of two historic buildings in the Bergisch town of Solingen. In the larger of the two, the so-called "Black House", a literary salon was established at the instigation of the art-loving landlady - Erna Heinen-Steinhoff (1898-1969).
In 1945, the artist Erwin Johannes Bowien (1899-1972), who had returned from exile, was the first painter of the so-called " Artists' Colony" to move in. From then on, this house with the small studio next door, the so-called "Red House", became his permanent domicile until the mid-1960s, from which he wandered the entire Bergisches Land and captured it on canvas. After that, Erwin Bowien divided his life between Solingen and Weil am Rhein; countless journeys through Germany with the main focus of his work: depicting the Rhine river from its source to its mouth, with special attention to the great cathedrals of the Rhine. As a constant traveller, however, he also undertook extensive journeys to Switzerland and Norway.
He discovered the talent of his little roommate, the daughter of the house - Bettina Heinen-Ayech (1937-2020) - whom he systematically trained as an artist from 1950. From 1955, the Hamburg artist Amud Uwe Millies (1932-2008) joined him and became the third and last painter to move into the place. From 1969 to 1971, the sculptor Ernst Egon Osländer (1928-2015) lived and worked in the estate. The artist Bettina Heinen-Ayech was the last to remain in the houses - until her death - where she worked in her German studio, alternating with her other residence in Guelma, Algeria.