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.
“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.