Ticho, Anna

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TICHO, ANNA (1894–1980), painter. Born in Brno, Moravia, Ticho began drawing at the age of 12 in Vienna where she was exposed to the 16th-century masterworks in the great museums of the city. At 18 she married her uncle Abraham Albert Ticho, an eye doctor who had immigrated to Ereẓ Israel some months before (see below), and settled with him in Jerusalem. During World War i she moved with her husband to Damascus.

Ticho's artistic style was connected to Jerusalem and its environs. During her initial years in the city Ticho was unable to draw. The harsh sunlight that dimmed the contrast between the color and the outline of the landscape was extremely different from the softly contoured scenery of her childhood years in Europe. The spectacle of indigent people, poverty, and neglected streets paralyzed her desire to paint. Only in Damascus did she return to drawing.

During the 1920s and 1930s she produced mainly pencil drawings of objects in the landscape and portraits of people, some of whom she had met in her husband's clinic. Those drawings are distinguished by their faithfulness to the subject and their accuracy of details (The Old City of Jerusalem, 1927, Israel Museum, Jerusalem).

In the 1940s, while most of her Jerusalem scenes were drawn in black and white, she created a series of flower paintings in watercolors. This was her first step toward abstract art, which became more prevalent for her during the 1950s when she stayed at home with her ill husband and painted in a freer style. She used larger sheets of paper than before, and the details in the views she painted spread out almost as if they became pure abstracts.

In her last years, no longer able to go out, she drew landscapes based on her personal interpretation and memory. Towards the end of her life she used new materials such as pastels with very intensive volume. Only in this period did she finally begin to exhibit her works.

Shortly before her death in 1980 Ticho was awarded the Israel Prize.

The Ticho house functioned as a hospital as well as a cultural salon for the German-Jewish immigrants of Jerusalem. Artists, politicians, authors, poets, philosophers, and others, gathered as guests of the Ticho couple. The walls of the home were decorated with her husband's Hanukkah lamps as well as with her pictures. After the Ticho couple passed away the house was dedicated to artistic activities as a part of the Israel Museum.

Her husband, abraham albert ticho (1883–1960), founded and headed an ophthalmic hospital in Jerusalem. He was born in Boskovice, Moravia, and immigrated to Palestine in 1912. Until 1918 he was head of the Jerusalem Le-maan Zion society's hospital and eye clinic where he fought an intensive campaign against the scourging disease of trachoma. In 1917 he served as an oculist in the Turkish army. From 1919 to 1921 he was head of the eye department of the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, and directed his own hospital and clinic for eye diseases. Part of his Ḥanukkah candelabra collection is now in the Israel Museum.


I. Salmon, Ticho House A Jerusalem Landmark (1994); Anna Ticho, Jerusalem landscapes: Drawing and Watercolours (1971).

[Ronit Steinberg (2nd ed.)]