Anna Ticho

This artist became famous for her drawings of the Jerusalem hills.

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Reprinted from Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia with permission of the author and the Jewish Women's Archive.

Anna Ticho was born in Brno, Moravia (Czech Republic). In her early teens she moved with her family to Vienna where she took her first drawing lessons, later enrolling in art school. At the age of eighteen, Anna emigrated to Palestine and settled in Jerusalem. In November 1912 she married her cousin Dr. Abraham Albert Ticho (1883–1960), who had accepted an offer from the Frankfurt organization Lema'an Zion (For the Sake of Zion) to establish and head an eye clinic in Jerusalem. The couple had no children.

From the moment she arrived in the city in 1912 till the day she died in 1980, Anna Ticho lived in Jerusalem and lovingly portrayed it in paint, pen and ink, charcoal, pastel and pencil.Anna Ticho

"I came to Jerusalem when it was still 'virgin territory,' with vast, breathtakingly beautiful vistas … I was impressed by the grandeur of the scenery, the bare hills, the large, ancient olives trees, and the cleft slopes … the sense of solitude and eternity," she wrote to a friend in one of the few Ticho letters that have been preserved.

Beginnings in Art

Her first tentative pencil and pen-and-ink drawings were delicately linear renderings of the landscape that so captivated her. Customarily, she set out mornings, her easel slung over her shoulder, for the Old City, where she spent the day painting. This was a departure from the approach of the artists of the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem, who were bound to the old images of the city and to the orientalist trend.

Up to the 1920s Jerusalem was shown as the lofty site of the Temple and the focus of pilgrims' and orientalists' aspirations. Depicted from the east, it was a world arising from the desert, celestial and elusive. Jerusalem was seen from the Mount of Olives facing the Temple Mount, the Western Wall or the Dome of the Rock. During the twenties, artists began to turn a more prosaic eye on the city, viewing it from the Sultan's Pool, Mount Zion and a variety of vantage points. These artists lived in the city and lived the city.

Anna Ticho, too, began to focus on the urban landscape and the intricacies of its stony textures, uninhabited--in her work thus far--by any human forms. Her line during this period is short and fine, each detail accented, with an expressiveness evoking some of the artists whose work she had encountered during her early years in Vienna: Albrecht Dürer and Pieter Brueghel, and her contemporaries, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka.

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Irit Salmon, currently the curator of the Israel Museum's Ticho House in Jerusalem, was until 1996 a curator at the Yad Vashem Art Museum. Born in Tel Aviv in 1939, she has a B.A. in History of Art, Hebrew Literature and Education (1965) and an M.A. in History of Art, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has headed the archives of the Department of Jewish Art at the Israel Museum.