Manuscripts

Erwin Bowien as a writer



The importance of Erwin Bowien as a writer and lyricist has become obscure thanks to the focus on his painterly work. This second, no less demanding creative output with novellas, poems, and novels was considerable, although, to date, little of it, with a few notable exceptions, has been published. During each of his creative periods, in Munich, Dresden, Berlin, and Hechingen until about 1925, at Solingen until 1931, in Dutch "emigration" until 1942, and during his later phases of life in southern Germany and Switzerland until 1972, Bowien also recorded many reflections on the meaning of his life on paper.

The artist's autobiography "“Das schöne Spiel zwischen Geist und Welt - Mein Malerleben" ("The beautiful game between spirit and world: my life as a painter") was written feverishly during the last year of his life in the spring and summer 1972. It was published in 1995. Another key work by Erwin Bowien appeared in France in 2000: "Heures Perdues du Matin: Journal d'un Artiste Peintre, Alpes Bavaroises, 9.IX.1944-10.V.1945." Not unlike Sartre in his journals, this work, written in French and published by important Parisian publisher L'Harmattan, tells the experience of being in internal exile. Bowien describes his life in a remote corner of the Allgäu from 9 November 1944 until the end of the Second World War. Bowien's 206-page book was supplemented with commentary by Bernard Zimmermann of Paris.


Present manuscripts by Erwin Bowien


Manuscript of the book: "Amiela, Presents on the Curtain, Words of a Clever Woman", collected by E.J.Bowien, completed in 1946
Manuscript of the book: "Amiela, Presents on the Curtain, Words of a Clever Woman", collected by E.J.Bowien, completed in 1946

Manuscript: "The School of Diletants, Tales by Erwin Bowien
Manuscript: "The School of Diletants, Tales by Erwin Bowien

Manuscript: "Worn Dresses" by Erwin Bowien, Roman, 1946/47
Manuscript: "Worn Dresses" by Erwin Bowien, Roman, 1946/47

  • The blue silk curtains, diary from Norway, 1958

Lost manuscripts of Erwin Bowien

  • Borrowed life, 1940s
  • The exciting silence, 1940s
  • Nuor Tanaste. Arctic Circle diary, 1959

Published works


  • 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, ISBN 3-88234-101-7, U-Form Verlag, Solingen, 1995

  • Bowien, Erwin: „Heures perdues du Matin“ - Journal d´un Artiste Peintre, Alpes Bavaroises, 9.IX.1944 – 10.V.1945. Adaptation, notice et notes par Bernard Zimmermann, Verlag L´Harmattan, Paris, 2000, ISBN 2-7475-0040-3

Bowien, Erwin: „Heures perdues du Matin“ - Journal d´un Artiste Peintre, Alpes Bavaroises, 9.IX.1944 – 10.V.1945. Adaptation, notice et notes par Bernard Zimmermann, Verlag L´Harmattan, Paris
Bowien, Erwin: „Heures perdues du Matin“ - Journal d´un Artiste Peintre, Alpes Bavaroises, 9.IX.1944 – 10.V.1945. Adaptation, notice et notes par Bernard Zimmermann, Verlag L´Harmattan, Paris

Translations



Mrs. Gabriele Richard has laboriously translated Erwin Bowien's French-language war diary "Les Heures perdues du Matin" into German. The manuscript "Lost Morning Hours" was created.


Diaries

Bowien left behind almost 100 journals. These include spontaneously written texts and travel sketches written in jam-packed pages. Bowien's descriptions are characterised by the often stunning mix of descriptions of often unfortunate living conditions and witty reflections on the world, people, and especially his painting. From a literary point of view, these writings embody total disorder, which, however, adds up to its own universe upon closer study. Very little of these have received scholarly attention.

All of these diaries are still unpublished. Numerous other diaries are still waiting to be indexed.

  • A diary with the title "Zurich Self-Discussions" was written in 1950.
  • An untitled diary, written during the artist's trip to Norway in 1963.
  • An untitled diary, it revolves around a trip to Zurich in 1959. This second Zurich diary deals particularly with the Icelandic composer Hallgrimur Helgason, whom Bowien met as a student in Zurich.
  • A diary with the title "Let your feet free" was written during a trip to Switzerland in 1963.
  • A diary with the title "Tomorrow's Worries", written in Locarno in 1963/64.

All of these diaries are still unpublished. Numerous other diaries are still waiting to be indexed.


Talks

Bowien lectured on art history throughout his life. Most of his talks were at the local college in Solingen, but also in Kleve, on Sylt, and at the German Club in Copenhagen.


Letters

Erwin Bowien wrote thousands of letters. He frequently added illustrations which were often works of art in their own right. His letters were always in a diary-style, so these works are mostly of historical interest.

Almost all of Erwin Bowien's letters were illustrated. Thousands of small masterpieces were created in this way. Here are two examples:


Postcards