Life

Erwin Bowien's CV


Erwin Bowien ( 1899-1972): Werkverzeichnis N° 1083 - Selbstbildnis mit Kinderkopf im Hintergrund, ca. 1935
Erwin Bowien ( 1899-1972): Werkverzeichnis N° 1083 - Selbstbildnis mit Kinderkopf im Hintergrund, ca. 1935

Annemarie Neufeldt and Erich Bowien - The parents of Erwin Bowien around 1895
Annemarie Neufeldt and Erich Bowien - The parents of Erwin Bowien around 1895

September 03, 1899

  • Born in Mülheim an der Ruhr
  • The father Erich Bowien, civil engineer and later commercial director of the Rhine port in Weil am Rhein, was the brother of the well-known pastor Otto Bowien. He probably originally came from a Huguenot family who had immigrated from France, primarily merchants and craftsmen from Mohrungen in East Prussia. During the First World War as major of the pioneers, he received the highest awards.
  • The mother Anna-Maria, born Neufeldt, came from a Dutch Mennonite family who had immigrated to East Prussia and was the daughter of the well-known manufacturer and city councilor Adolf Heinrich Neufeldt from Elbing in East Prussia.
Erwin Bowien's children's shoe in bronze
Erwin Bowien's children's shoe in bronze

1900 to 1908

Historic photo from 1906: one of the houses that Erich Bowien, Erwin Bowien's father, built in Berlin (then Kirchplatz. 6, now Gierkeplatz in Berlin Charlottenburg)
Historic photo from 1906: one of the houses that Erich Bowien, Erwin Bowien's father, built in Berlin (then Kirchplatz. 6, now Gierkeplatz in Berlin Charlottenburg)
  • Childhood in Berlin-Charlottenburg, the first 4 years of school in the Schillergymnasium there
Bowien family in Berlin-Charlottenburg, 1902
Bowien family in Berlin-Charlottenburg, 1902

Collège latin in Neuchâtel, school report from Bowien from 1915
Collège latin in Neuchâtel, school report from Bowien from 1915

1909 to 1917

  • Adolescence in French-speaking Switzerland
  • Attended the Collège Latin in Neuchâtel, first regular art education with Professor William Racine at the local school of applied arts
  • Carl Russ-Suchard (1838-1925), owner of the Swiss chocolate manufacturer Suchard, is the artist's first patron. He acquires a number of paintings from him
  • first portrait of his father (with guitar)
Erich Bowien, (father of the artist) and his officers, 1914
Erich Bowien, (father of the artist) and his officers, 1914

1917

  • Erwin Bowien faced the public at a very early age. His first exhibition took place at the age of 18 in the gallery "À la Rose d'or" in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. The exhibition, held in 1917, took place only a few months before he was called up for front-line service.
  • In the same year, an exhibition is held at the gallery "Kunst und Luxus" in Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich.

1917 to 1918

  • Participation as a soldier in World War 1. Bowien, who had just turned 18, lies opposite the French in the Argonne Forest. Because of his knowledge of French, he is conscripted as the youngest in the army into an interception unit. He has to tap French communications on the front line, in narrow mine shafts driven under enemy lines, and translate what he overhears to paper. He also serves as an interpreter and translates French radio messages.
  • Sketches and watercolours are produced at the front.
  • Erwin Bowien is awarded the Iron Cross (EK II).
Erwin Bowien with his father Erich Bowien, 1917
Erwin Bowien with his father Erich Bowien, 1917

1919

  • Demobilisation in Hannover
  • Continues artistic training by attending drawing courses at the Gewerbeschule in Hannover.
  • Friendship with the artist Hermann Wöhler from Hannover.

1919 to 1920

  • Separation from the parental home in Neuchâtel due to the Swiss border barrier. Bowien stays in Constance on Lake Constance for six months. Calligraphy lessons.
  • Friendship with the Enzenroß family, princely district foresters, with forest seat in Killenberg Castle near Salem. Mrs Frieda Enzenroß becomes the artist's first great muse.
  • Numerous family and landscape paintings in and around Constance and Salem.

1920

  • Award of the Iron Cross to Erwin Bowien

1920 to 1923

  • Studies at the State Academy of Art in Munich with the founder of Munich New Impressionism, Professor Robert Engels.
  • First encounter with the painter Hans Thoma in Karlsruhe.
Erwin Bowien at the Art Academy in Munich, 1921
Erwin Bowien at the Art Academy in Munich, 1921

1922

  • half a year of study in Dresden, advised by Professor Richard Müller, who declared the young painter "done"
  • Inflation, total breadlessness
Erwin Bowien ( 1899-1972): City vedute of Danzig, 1923
Erwin Bowien ( 1899-1972): City vedute of Danzig, 1923

1923

Historic photo from 1923: Erwin Bowien at the silver wedding of his parents in Basel. From left to right: Erwin Bowien, Annemarie Bowien, Erich Bowien, Ursula Bowien, Erika Bowien
Historic photo from 1923: Erwin Bowien at the silver wedding of his parents in Basel. From left to right: Erwin Bowien, Annemarie Bowien, Erich Bowien, Ursula Bowien, Erika Bowien
  • Training as a drawing teacher at the State Art School Berlin-Schöneberg with Professor Philipp Franck in Berlin, art history lessons with Professor Oskar Fischel
  • Exam as a works teacher in Düsseldorf
  • First encounter with Hans Thoma in Karlsruhe. Started his painting trips to Kassel, Aachen, Hamburg, Lübeck, Gdansk, Karlsruhe, Freiburg, Basel, Königsberg, Hildesheim
  • Great journey to East and West Prussia in the footsteps of his ancestors. Bowien paints on the Vistula Spit, in Sopot, Gdansk, Elbing (his mother's home), Mohrungen (his father's home) and Königsberg. Later, until his exile in Holland, he travelled to Prague, Vienna, Venice, Kassel, Aachen, Hamburg, Lübeck, Hildesheim and Basel.

1923 - 1924

  • Studies at the Art Academy in Dresden, Professor Richard Müller.
  • Inflation, complete breadlessness.

1924

Historisches Foto: Aus dem Archiv von Erwin Bowien, eine Klasse aus seinem Unterricht
Historisches Foto: Aus dem Archiv von Erwin Bowien, eine Klasse aus seinem Unterricht
  • Continues studies at the Berlin-Schöneberg State School of Art with Professor Philipp Franck in Berlin, art history lessons with Professor Oskar Fischel.
  • Examination as a work teacher in Düsseldorf.

1925

  • He worked as an art teacher at the Realgymnasium in Hechingen/Hohenzollern, then transferred to the Gymnasium Schwertstrasse in Solingen, where he worked from 19 June 1925 to 30 September 1931.
  • Bowien remained in Solingen until he finally went into exile in Holland, working in Solingen for the last time in the winter of 1933. bleibt in Solingen, bis er – zuletzt noch im Winter 1933 in Solingen tätig – endgültig ins Exil nach Holland geht.

Historic photo: Erwin Bowien (far right) in Venice in 1929, together with his first great muse - Frieda Enzenross (far left with a headscarf).
Historic photo: Erwin Bowien (far right) in Venice in 1929, together with his first great muse - Frieda Enzenross (far left with a headscarf).

1925 to 1932

  • In addition to his full-time work as an art teacher at the Gymnasium, Bowien also worked intensively as a lecturer at the Solingen Volkshochschule from 1925 onwards, giving a total of more than 100 art history lectures. The last lectures before his final exile took place in the winter of 1933. After his return from flight and exile, he again lectured regularly - from 1947 to 1949 - at the Solingen Volkshochschule. In addition to the lectures, he also organises guided tours of exhibitions and gives painting lessons for the Volkshochschule. Due to the world economic crisis and the implementation of Brüning's emergency decree, he loses his job as an art teacher.
  • Depicts all the work processes in the Solingen factory Zwilling J.A. Henckels, large portrait of the family of director Dr Gontermann, large portrait of the editor Hanns Heinen and his sons, large portrait of the Enzenroß family on a Lake Constance steamer, Wupper landscapes, Solingen city views, vedute in Venice (1929), Vienna (1928), Prague (1928) and Cologne, views of Aachen Cathedral, landscapes on the Rhine and Lake Constance.
  • Friendship with the family of the Solingen editor and poet Hanns Heinen, admission to Erna Heinen-Steinhoff's salon. When he loses his job, in 1931, Bowien moves into the house of the Heinen family.
Historical photos from 1926: the art teacher Bowien and one of his classes
Historical photos from 1926: the art teacher Bowien and one of his classes

 

Historical photos of the "Bergisches Land" from the former property of the artist Erwin Bowien are now in the archive of Dr. Haroun Ayech

 


1933 to 1942

  • After several trips to the Netherlands from 1932, Bowien worked in Solingen for the last time in the winter of 1933 before finally going into self-imposed exile in Holland.
  • Builds up a new existence, lives as a freelance artist in North Holland, first in Hoorn, then in Egmond aan den Hoef (in the house of the philosopher René Descartes, near the ruins of Egmond Castle).
  • Travels throughout the Netherlands; works of important Dutch landscapes: seascapes, dune paintings, mainly in pastel; large series of graphite drawings of Dutch peasants and craftsmen; sketches of towns and cities.
  • Paintings by the artist end up in the Rijksmuseum and the Hoorn Museum. The director of the art cabinet in the Rijksmuseum supports the artist.
  • After the outbreak of war, life in great material hardship.
  • Bowien becomes active as a writer. Cycle of novellas "The School of Dilettantes" and "In Holland stands a House"', poems and diaries, which continue throughout his life. Reviews from Bowien's hand appear in various newspapers.
  • Artistic training of the painter Dirk Oudes from Ouddorp near Alkmaar.

Photos from the former possession of the artist Erwin Bowien related to his Dutch exile


1934

Historical photo: Erwin Bowien (1899-1972) in exile in the Netherlands during a visit by his muse Erna Heinen-Steinhoff (1898-1969) in 1934
Historical photo: Erwin Bowien (1899-1972) in exile in the Netherlands during a visit by his muse Erna Heinen-Steinhoff (1898-1969) in 1934
  • Portraits of the Dutch fleet manager, Vice Admiral Brutel de la Rivière, and the friends of the Boeke, Groot, Hemelrijk, Hünder-Decker, and Swart-Boer families
  • Great North Africa trip with the Hünder-Decker family to Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, numerous pastels and graphite drawings from this trip

Photos from the former possession of the artist Erwin Bowien with reference to his trip to Africa in 1934


1935

  • On the night of 19 October 1935, Bowien witnessed the dramatic rescue of the ships "Kerkplein" - a 10,000 tonne cargo ship - and the "Drenthe" - a tugboat - which had been thrown onto the beach of Egmond aan Zee in stormy seas and whose crews had to be pulled from the ship at the risk of their lives. In the light of the large spotlight that had been brought in for the rescue operation, Bowien painted the dramatic events on a bonnet.

Erwin Bowien in Egmond aan Zee in 1937. On the beach he paints a child in a pram as part of the cycle “Egmondse Children's Portraits”, which are now mostly kept in the collection of the Dutch royal family.
Erwin Bowien in Egmond aan Zee in 1937. On the beach he paints a child in a pram as part of the cycle “Egmondse Children's Portraits”, which are now mostly kept in the collection of the Dutch royal family.

1937

  • In 1937 the municipality of Egmond commissioned the artist Erwin Bowien to portray all the children who were born in the municipality of Egmond in the same year as the future Queen Beatrix. In 1937 and 1938 around 20 graphite drawings were created which are still in the possession of the Dutch royal family and which are known under the name "Egmondse Kinderportretten".

1940

  •  At dawn on May 10, 1940, Bowien witnessed the German attack on the Netherlands. He witnessed the bombing of Bergen Airport. In his autobiography he writes: ... the farmers who believed that an accident had happened at the airport ran outside in pajamas and nightgowns. In the air the planes were circling with the devil mark, and I had to tell the unsuspecting that it means war.
  • Erwin Bowien was arrested during the attack by the Wehrmacht in the Netherlands in May 1940.
  • Erwin Bowien succeeds, with the help of his friend Hanns Heinen, in the release of a Dutch hostage from Egmond a.d. who was abducted by the German occupiers. To obtain Hoef.
Shortly after the German invasion of the Netherlands: June 1940 - Erwin Bowien drawing in Egmond a.d.Hoef beim zeichnen in Egmond a.d.Hoef
Shortly after the German invasion of the Netherlands: June 1940 - Erwin Bowien drawing in Egmond a.d.Hoef beim zeichnen in Egmond a.d.Hoef

1942

  • Bowien leaves the Netherlands to avoid being drafted into the Wehrmacht. From then on, he struggled through Germany without any valid military papers until 1945.
  • In November 1942 Bowien exhibited in the “Kunstzaal Plaats” in The Hague. Title of the exhibition "Works by E. J. Bowien"

1942 to 1943

  • Stayed for half a year in Solingen with the Heinen family; there are a number of cityscapes in watercolor; the most beautiful representations of Solingen before the destruction
  • Escape through Germany. Since Bowien had no valid military papers, he was not allowed to spend more than 6 weeks in one place, otherwise he would have had to register with the authorities. After half a year with the Heinen family in Solingen, he left the city so as not to endanger them and embarked on a journey into the unknown. This is followed by stations on the manor house Ahse near Soest, in Hannoversch Münden, in Kreuzthal-Eisenbach near Isny, in Augsburg, in Munich, in Garmisch Partenkirchen, in Mittenwald, in Weil am Rhein, in Alsace etc .... In 1943 he became careless and stayed in Augsburg for half a year. This extended stay is almost his undoing. He is displayed and can barely save himself. Many of his works are confiscated by the Gestapo.

Erwin Bowien ( 1899-1972): Catalog of works N ° 170 - Augsburg, 1943
Erwin Bowien ( 1899-1972): Catalog of works N ° 170 - Augsburg, 1943

1943

  • After six months in Augsburg, his pictures were confiscated by the Gestapo on the orders of the Reich Chamber of Culture. These are later destroyed by the effects of war.

1943 to 1945

  • Escape to Allgäu to Kreuzthal-Eisenbach near Isny; silent landscape painting; literary work "Les heures perdues du matin" u.a.
  • Letter to Erwin Bowien in which he is informed that his pictures at the Vogl Gallery in Augsburg have been confiscated by the Reich Chamber of Culture.

1944

  • The German Chamber of Culture confiscated more of Bowien's paintings and orders a ban on exhibitions.
  • Bowien no longer ventures out of the Kreuzthal; Protection by the village policeman Ottmar Meer. Letter to Erwin Bowien, in which the former village policeman Ottmar Meer asks the painter Bowien - as an active Nazi opponent - to issue him with a certificate of exoneration

1945

  • after the end of the war return to the Heinen family's home in Solingen; Time of hunger; literary work: borrowed life, worn clothes (unpublished); Resumption of lectures, extensive landscape oeuvre: Bergisches Land, Rhineland, portraits, still lifes
  • Foundation of the artists' colony -  "Black House"

Erwin Bowien drawing in the garden of the "Black House", 1946
Erwin Bowien drawing in the garden of the "Black House", 1946

1946

  • Attempt to found a publishing house under the name "Fortuna Verlag". The project failed due to the general economic situation.
  • Erwin Bowien participates in the founding conference of the Rhenish-Westphalian Writers' Association from June 4-6, 1946 in Lobberich / Ingenhoven Castle (today part of the city of Nettetal)
Erwin Bowien in Lobberich on the occasion of the founding of the Rhenish-Westphalian Writers' Association, 1946
Erwin Bowien in Lobberich on the occasion of the founding of the Rhenish-Westphalian Writers' Association, 1946
  • As an observer, Erwin Bowien draws the war processes in Wuppertal
Erwin Bowien ( 1899-1972): British military prosecutor in Wuppertal, 1946
Erwin Bowien ( 1899-1972): British military prosecutor in Wuppertal, 1946

1948

  • through the mediation of the childhood friend Eric Thiébaud from Neuchâtel: trip to Lausanne, where painting material, oil and pastel colors can be bought for the first time in years; since then periodic stays in Switzerland, especially in the Bernese Oberland, at the Bieler and Neuenburger See, at the sources of the Rhine and in Ticino
  • Erich Bowien's father dies

1949

  • Purchase for 500 DM - a very high sum at the time - by the state government in Düsseldorf of a painting for the art collection of North Rhine-Westphalia.

1950 to 1969

  • Erwin Bowien divides his life between Solingen and Weil am Rhein; countless trips through Germany; Main focus: Representation of the Rhine current from the source to the mouth, with special attention to the large Rhenish cathedrals

1951

  • Start of the annual trips to Sylt to the Klappholttal Adult Education Center
  • Essential phase in the instruction of his master student Bettina Heinen
  • Erwin Bowien is accepted as a full member of the Landesberufsverband bildender Künstler Nordrhein-Westfalen under membership number 343.

Membership card of Erwin Bowien of the Landesverband bildender Künstler Nordrhein-Westfalen from 1952
Membership card of Erwin Bowien of the Landesverband bildender Künstler Nordrhein-Westfalen from 1952

1952

  • Painting trip with his student to Ticino
  • Friendship with the Fallet, Lehmann and Roth families in Bern and the Eggenberger family in Au / St. Gallen
  • On 21.07.52 and 12.08.52 Erwin Bowien gives a slide show in colour entitled "A Journey through Switzerland" to a large audience, first at the Städtisches Gymnasium in Kleve and then at the Kurhaus in Westerland on the island of Sylt.
Erwin Bowien with the Swiss art patron Eduard M. Fallet - Von Castelberg
Erwin Bowien with the Swiss art patron Eduard M. Fallet - Von Castelberg

Erwin Bowien drawing in the garden of the "Black House", 1953
Erwin Bowien drawing in the garden of the "Black House", 1953

1953

  • Painting trip to southern Sweden (invited by Ms. Olson from Helsingborg) accompanied by his student Bettina
Portrait sketch of painting student Bettina Heinen-Ayech during a painting trip with Erwin Bowien
Portrait sketch of painting student Bettina Heinen-Ayech during a painting trip with Erwin Bowien

1954

  • first trip to Norway, invited by Ms. Lillengen, a Swiss woman married in Norway; (Nygard near Gjövik) important stations on Mjösa and in Sandnessjoen on the island of Alsten
  • Friendship with the Ottar Lillengen and Per and Arna Milde families; thereafter almost an annual invitation to Norway, often together with Bettina Heinen; purchase of the hut "Bettina-Bo" on the island of Alsten; the journey to Norway ushers in the late work
  • Start of the picture cycle of Swiss cities
Erwin Bowien ( 1899-1972): Erwin Bowien drew the finals of the World Cup final in Bern in 1954
Erwin Bowien ( 1899-1972): Erwin Bowien drew the finals of the World Cup final in Bern in 1954

1955

  • Bowien met his other student Amud Uwe Millies

Erwin Bowien and his muse Erna Heinen-Steinhoff searching for a motif in Ticino, 1956. On the way from Corippo to Mergoscia
Erwin Bowien and his muse Erna Heinen-Steinhoff searching for a motif in Ticino, 1956. On the way from Corippo to Mergoscia

1958

  • Start of the annual painting trips to Paris
Bowien with his student Bettina in Paris, 1958
Bowien with his student Bettina in Paris, 1958

1960

  • Erwin Bowien spends half a year in Copenhagen. He paints numerous city vedute and portraits.

1961

  • Death of his brotherly friend Hanns Heinen in Solingen

1964

  • Relocation to Weil am Rhein to the parental home to care for the old mother; significant press recognition on the occasion of the exhibition in Paris; cityscapes of Paris are created
  • Continuation of the Rhine cycle started earlier

1966

  • Interview on Südwestfunk on December 12th

Erwin Bowien, ca. 1960
Erwin Bowien, ca. 1960

1968

  • Mother Anne-Marie Bowien died on June 17, 1968

1969

  • Death of his close confidante Erna Heinen, née Steinhoff, in Solingen
  • Painting in the border triangle
  • Report by Südwestfunk - Landesstudio Freiburg / Mrs. Gschlecht - on the occasion of the artist's 70th birthday.

1969 to 1971

  • Painting trips to Algeria to visit his student Bettina Heinen-Ayech; landscapes are created on the Mediterranean in Skikda and from the region around Guelma in eastern Algeria and in the Sahara near Biskra

1970

  • Marriage to Inken Strohmeyer, née Vogt on July 28th
  • for the Rhine cycle, the cathedral pictures of Breisach, Freiburg, Worms, Speyer, in Alsace from Thann and Strasbourg were created; large flower pictures; Writing poems ("100 pearls") for his young wife Inken

1971

  • largest representation of the Cologne Cathedral; Travel to Finland, Norway and Algeria
  • Start of autobiographical transcript

1972

  • Painting trip to the south of France. Termination of the trip due to health problems; After previous operations in Solingen, inpatient treatment in the cancer clinic of Dr. Issels in Rottach-Egern
  • feverish work on his autobiography "The beautiful game between spirit and world, my painter life" (published 1995)
  • died on December 3rd, 1972 at home in Weil am Rhein; buried in Weil

Bowien, Erwin: „Das schöne Spiel zwischen Geist und Welt - Mein Malerleben“, Autobiographie mit 16 farbigen und 26 schwarzweißen Abbildungen, herausgegeben vom Freundeskreis Erwin Bowien und Bettina Heinen-Ayech unter besonderer Mitwirkung von Ulrike Friedrichs