To the person Saweljews and his works:
Influence and works of the Iconographer Alexei Saveliev as seen by the press:
- " A.S. pursues icon painting with as in a championship. He is the best living icon writer”.
(Curator H. Skrobucha, Icon Museum of Recklinghausen)
- "A man with brilliance, a “Charismatic personality” (technical periodical "Weltkunst"
(World Art), 1962)
- Icons of rarely seen intensity, harmony and beauty (Munich, 1964)
- He is considered one of the most earnest and talented icon writers, who sees it as his duty to
uncover the world of the icon in all its profundity. (Berliner Tagesspiegel, 1968).
- A.S. is the only artist in Western Europe who has mastered the technology of icon painting
in such perfection. (Cologne Rundschau, 1970).
- The exhibition (of these icons) is artistically, technically, art-historically, ecumenically,
religiously, Christian … for all worth seeing. (Düsseldorf News, 1971).
-A.S. is deeply religious, deeply spiritual, full of character, and obsessed with opening a
workshop for modern icon painting through which he may serve God and his Church. It is
from this mindset that he perceives his great talent in creating icons as a mission assigned to
him by God. (Professor Karl Eller, Munich, Los Angeles, 1955)
-Thanks to the donator of these icons (the icon altar in St. Jodokus Church, Bielefeld).
-Painted by A.S. in 1962, uniquely in a Roman Catholic Church in Western Europe) on behalf
of all generations that are stimulated by these works to devotion and piety. (Professor Dr. A.
Fox, Paderborn, 1962)
- The simplicity, the uniqueness of the icon, its great importance for the Christian Church,
expression and spirited work of God A.S. imparts to us as one profoundly affected in a rare, unique and therefore incomparable manner. (Saar-Moselle-Rundschau-TV, 1979)
Alexei Saveliev’s self-conception:
"I am a poor, tormented worm…” (trading in his icons, sales exhibitions … unthinkable! irreconcilable with my beliefs!) " God be merciful to me sinner” – “Pray for God’s servant” (inscription on the cross at his burial place in Traben-Trabach-Wolf) – I am a stateless, homeless foreigner, who spoke of the German poets and philosophers with esteem (where are they – where has it gone – the German culture ..?)
-He saw himself as God’s work and His tool.
"I am a wheelbarrow, an old Russian donkey, bringing back to Western Europe a precious burden, where it was at home before the separation and before the arrival of art and humanism. The Icon Centre is my gift to the German people. What are YOU to do? In the name of Jesus Christ, be a decent and honourable person – no more and no less!”
1918: born on 26th January 1918 or 1920 in Kiev (Ukraine) as only son of a great landowner and squire.
1933: his father is hunted down by the Soviets and murdered
1929-1935: Attended grammar-school in Kiev.
1935-1937: Training as make-up artist and photo laboratory technician at the theatre and in a film studio in Kiev from which he graduated as master craftsman. In the following period he was employed at the theatre in Kiev and Moscow. It is unclear for how long he was there.
1937-1942: Besides working in his profession, was active as resistance fighter underground against the communists, also acting from Iran (?), was captured, tortured and underwent brainwashing.
1942-1943:Either flight with his mother via Austria to Berlin or on account of the Hitler-Stalin pact and because of his outstanding knowledge as well as his origins was detached to the NS propaganda ministry along with fourteen other experts (“ Persona ingrata ”). Both versions are chronicled, and it is substantiated that his mother was registered in Berlin since August 1942.
1943-1946: Worked at the UFA and Rex film studios as film-laboratory technician and make-up artist.
1946-1948: Worked in the fields of film, make-up artistry, and photography at the YMCA Theatre in Heidenau.
1948: Relocated with his mother to the refugee camp in Hamburg and became spokesperson of the Committee for Greek-Orthodox refugees
1948-1950: Attended the vocational school for the arts for stateless persons in Hamburg, focusing on early Christian art, icon painting and fresco painting.
1950: His mother emigrated to the United States of America, whilst he is refused entry due to a lung disease. He continues to study iconography, discovers the old Byzantine technique, and creates his first new icons in the style of the Novgorod School.
1955: Relocation to Munich without any personal belongings.
1957: Marriage to Mrs. Margarete Radewald ('protectorship'). His economic situation forces him to offer his icons for sale. His wife arranges the sales exhibitions
1967: Move to Nordhofen (in the Westerwald) followed by first attempt to establish an icon centre.
1976-1982: Establishes the first icon centre in Graach on the Moselle, while greatly reduced the sales exhibitions. Subsists mainly on donations from visitors. Separation from his wife. Divorce in 1988.
1983: A new icon centre is established in Traben-Trarbach, because the previous one was too small and damp.
1985-1992: Set-up of the Icon Centre, continues to paint new icons, but no more are sold.
l992: establishment of a Trust Society for the Protection of the Icons and Assistance of Saveliev himself.
1993: Legal transfer of all the icons to the city of Traben-Trarbach
1995: Suffers a stroke. Thereafter lengthy hospitalization.
1996: Suffers another stroke, is admitted into hospital, where he passed away on 1st March after his tragic health history.
Since then the Icon Centre, which is unique in Western Europe, is looked after and managed by the board together with some committed members of the Trust Society working in an honorary capacity in representation of the city of Trabach-Trabach, and thereby safeguarding the spiritual, craftsmanship and life’s work of Christian-Occidental culture, the legacy of “God's servant”, Alexei Alexandrovitch Saveliev: his gift to us all. .
To view photographs of the painter and his life, please click on the button.
"Enough for today …“
Stirring and wonderful childhood memories of A.Saveliev (please click on the button)