In 2021, Dr Haroun Ayech became the owner of the historic property at Neuenkamperstrasse 163 in Solingen, which under the names "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) founded in 1945 after his return from exile in Holland. There is now a unique opportunity to turn this property into a museum / a walk-in place.
For many years, people interested in art have wished to have a museum that would present 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.
Visitors will learn about the life and work of the painter Erwin Bowien (1899-1972) and his most important students Bettina Heinen-Ayech (1937-2020) and Amud Uwe Millies (1932-2008), but also about Erwin Bowien's most important friends, the poet Hanns Heinen (1895-1961) and his wife, the salon lady Erna Heinen-Steinhoff (1868-1969).
The buildings are worthy for a museum in two respects: as an industrial monument of the 18th century, when the so-called Black House - a timbered Bergisches Fachwerkhaus - was built as part of the foundation of the lead mine "Kleeblatt" as a so-called "Steigerhaus" and thus represents a rare relic of the coal and steel industry from that time, and as a place of art, as it became the seat of the Artists' Colony of the "Black House".
Mr Ayech is now planning to create the conditions to have the original home of the Heinen family of artists, including the artist's workshop, restored and used for the purpose of a museum. The building complex is to be used for exhibitions, as a museum shop and as a café. Mr Ayech has established a charitable foundation for this purpose - the Bettina Heinen-Ayech Foundation.
To remember this important Artists' Colony "Black House", an information board was installed on the historic building of the Artists' Colony on 7 November 2020.