Anna Ticho

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

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True to the Romantic tradition Ticho continued to treat subjects such as dissolution and abandonment, depicting trees, houses, and aging people. She drew the maze of rooftops of the houses of the Old City stretching to the horizon above their opaque windows, creating a delicate interplay between stones and windows interwoven with domed roofs, all executed with academic, Viennese precision. Light and shade sketch intriguing passages between the different parts of the picture.

Subject Matter

Anna Ticho's vision of Jerusalem is singular and personal rather than historical-symbolic. Yet she adheres to a long tradition of Temple Mount paintings in her cypress trees, which sometimes stand in for towers and minarets. The timeless symbol of the Wall fades away as Ticho melds tradition with personal vision and feeling.

Anna Ticho's Jerusalem works link her to an age-old tradition of artists who depicted the city as a sacred ideal. In addition to its holy sites, many artists went on to paint its landscape, vegetation and inhabitants in their various styles of ethnic dress, way of life, and religious practice.

In the mid-nineteenth century artists began to go beyond the formal system of symbols rooted in religious-folk tradition. The city--and its vistas--began to expand.

In the thirties and forties Ticho turned to trees and foliage, meticulously delineating the precise textures and convolutions of each rough, gnarled tree ring, trunk and branch. And above the treetops, with each leaf lovingly portrayed, rose the surrounding landscape.

Anna Ticho EtchingSo specific is each leaf that although these works are done in black-and-white, there is a strong sense of the vivid green of the young leaves and the deep green of the thick, mature ones. Many of these trees spring up from among the stones which were to become one of the trademarks of Ticho's work.

Anna Ticho's relation to Jerusalem is vividly expressed in her landscapes: bare, rocky hills, stones, old trees and faces--the lined topography of its people, all comprise her picture of the windswept, rocky, inexorably terrestrial city.

In Jerusalem, the young European artist found a world apart from the one she had left behind in Vienna. The meeting with the East--its landscape, colors and smells--enchanted her. In the faces of the people she encountered--beggars on the street, or patients who came to the clinic of her husband, the renowned ophthalmologist, she saw the city that was now her home. Faces like cleft rock or tree trunks ringed with age became one with nature in Anna Ticho's personal vision.

Changing Tactics

The 1960s marked a turning point in Anna Ticho's art. Jerusalem remained its central theme, but its depiction changed noticeably. Precise black-and-white drawing yielded to large-format renderings in rich pastel tones of warm brown. Short, tentative, detailed delineation gave way to bold, sweeping lines and color patches. The young, aspiring Viennese seeking her way through the strange streets and winding alleyways became the confident, seasoned, worldly artist. Ticho stayed in the studio, executing her views of Jerusalem from memory and from the landscape etched in her own heart. Moving beyond the houses of the city, she soared over its outlying hilly expanses into the infinity of the horizon. In nearly abstract terms, she conveyed Jerusalem's timeless quality.

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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.