Museums Project

The project Museum Künstlerkolonie Schwarzes Haus Solingen sees itself as an initiative to create a documentation site for a unique Solingen Artists' Colony.

From 1945 onwards - inspired by the return of the artist Erwin Bowien (1899-1972) from exile - a community of artists was formed, which achieved art-historical rank in the visual arts of the 20th century through a style that was completely its own - and completely detached from the spirit of the times. The most famous artist of this colony is the internationally known painter Bettina Heinen-Ayech (1937-2020).


Due to favorable circumstances, the historic property in which the artists' colony maintained its studios is available for the project. The ensemble consists of two half-timbered houses, the so-called "Black" and "Red" House in the Solingen district of Höhscheid in the village of Neuenhaus.

An initiative of art and history enthusiasts would like to use this favorable constellation to implement an appropriate museum project in this property.

The planned museum is to present and document not only the artists of the artists' colony, but also literary friends, sculptors and artists who were close to the Artists' Colony. As in all modern museums, documentation, mediation and communication are to be in the foreground.

Several sponsors have agreed - for the museum - to make available from their collections a comprehensive bundle of works of art by the artists of the colony. The collections of the museum will include objects from all genres of the material, written and pictorial estates of the colony, but also the history of the nearby lead mine.

The collections

The initiators of the museum have received a binding assurance that the planned museum will receive part of the original furniture of the house. Furthermore, there is a firm assurance by several patrons that the museum will receive an extensive equipment with original works of art by the artists Bettina Heinen- Ayech (1937-2020); Erwin Bowien (1899-1972) and Amud Uwe Millies (1932-2008).


The profile of the collection can be outlined as follows: The earliest works, primarily oil paintings and pastels as well as graphite drawings by Erwin Bowien beginning in the 1920s and extending into the late 1960s, can be assigned to a late Post-Impressionism. Bettina Heinen-Ayech with her watercolours and Amud Uwe Millies with his oil paintings and pastels further developed classical modernism into a completely unique style of art in which new approaches to representational painting were developed. Something excitingly new was created here. In addition to the original works of art, life in the artists' colony is documented through photographs, letters and manuscripts.

The Black House in Solingen as a museum of the Artists' Colony

In 2021, Dr Haroun Ayech became the owner of the historic property at Neuenkamperstrasse 163 in Solingen, which, under the name "Schwarzes - und Rotes Haus" (Black and Red House), was the site of the work of the Black House Artists' Colony, which Erwin Bowien (1899-1972) established in 1945 after his return from exile in Holland. There is now a unique opportunity to turn this property into a museum / walk-in space.


For many years, citizens interested in art have wanted a museum that presents the history of this unique artists' colony. It should be as unique as the turbulent history of the place - lively and participatory. The museum should not only document the history of the internationally active artists. It should also honour the local history in its own exhibition and offer people interested in history an insight into the region's industrial past.

The buildings

The ideal location for the planned "Museum Künstlerkolonie zum Schwarzen Haus in Solingen" is the historic site of the artists' colony, which would currently be available for the project. The half-timbered ensemble is to be associated with the former historic lead mine from the XVIII century in Solingen-Höhscheid, to which the half-timbered houses are in the immediate vicinity. It is an ensemble of 2 half-timbered houses and - somewhat apart - the former garden of the artists' colony, which, however, is currently not available for the project.

More about the Museums Project:

The plans

The Bettina Heinen-Ayech Foundation will endeavour to initiate a museum of the artists' colony from the historic studios and living spaces of the artists' colony in Solingen. The Foundation has therefore commissioned a Solingen architectural firm to draw up initial concepts for a feasibility study.


Architectural visualisation

In order to advance the museum project of the Artists' Colony Black House in Solingen, the Bettina Heinen-Ayech Foundation has had the first concepts of a feasibility study drawn up.

Research Project about the History of the "Black House"

Research of the history of the Black House and the Red House by historian Dr. Beate Battenfeld

One of the important goals of the Foundation is to initiate a museum of the Artists' Colony in the two former houses in Solingen that were used by the painters as studios, a complex consisting of two half-timbered houses, the larger of which bears the name "Black House" and gave the colony its name, and a smaller neighbouring building, the so-called "Red House". The foundation has now arranged for the structural substance of the houses to be examined and the plans for their conversion into a museum to be supported. In this context, wood samples were taken in order to date the houses using dendrochronological methods.

Dendrochronological age determination of the houses of the Artists' Colony

The location of the Artists' Colony - the so-called "Black and Red House" - are two old half-timbered houses, situated on one of Solingen's oldest arterial roads in the district of Solingen - Höhscheid. Both houses are worthy of preservation and look back on a long history, as they are also connected to the old Höhscheid lead mine. The renowned historian Dr. Beate Battenfeld has now researched the history of the houses on behalf of the Foundation and summarised it in an expert report.


Dr. Haroun Ayech
Vorsitzender des Vorstands
+49 (0) 151 42 22 11 42


Neuenkamperstrasse 163

42657 Solingen

Donation Account

IBAN: DE64 3006 0601 0047 7253 34
Deutsche Apotheker- und Ärztebank

Civil Law

Stiftung bürgerlichen Rechts

Stiftungsaufsicht der Bezirksregierung Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen

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