"The Landscape Chose Me" - Anna Ticho, Portrait and Landscapes

from: 17 April 2010
To: 31 July 2010

Anna Ticho was a multifaceted woman. She was not a native of this land, but she was deeply rooted in it to her last day, and her entire oeuvre is marked by the Eretz-Israeli nature in general, and the landscapes of the Judean Mountains and Jerusalem in particular, which she drew over and over again in the course of sixty years.
Ticho's cultural roots and artistic education lie in Europe, in Vienna, where she took her first drawing lessons at the age of twelve. In the autumn of 1912, at the age of eighteen, Anna Ticho emigrated to Palestine to marry her cousin, the ophthalmologist Dr. Abraham Ticho.
During her first four years in Jerusalem, she was unable to convey her impressions on paper. Ticho's transition from the tranquil verdant landscapes of her European childhood to the landscapes of the East, with the blinding sunlight which blurs the color contrasts and nuanced contours of the landscape, the sight of wretched people, the poverty and neglect on the streets, and many desolate areas – this move was a paralyzing experience. Only in 1915, upon arriving in Damascus with her husband, did she resume drawing, which she also continued after their return to Jerusalem in 1918.
During the first years most of her drawings were created in pencil, with clear fidelity to the depicted subject and a meticulous rendering of detail. She also drew portraits of people whom she encountered in her husband's clinic and on the city streets.
In the 1940s Ticho painted flowers, landscapes of Tiberias and Jericho, and human figures, in watercolors as well. There are virtually no watercolor depictions of Jerusalem, whose landscapes she drew exclusively in black-and-white due to their unique nature and hues. The watercolors, she said, formed only a small part of her oeuvre, a type of interval.
In the 1950s the Tichos purchased a house in Motza, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, in the Judean Mountains, where Anna was closer to the major subject of her works – the bare mountains, the flora and trees scattered on them, and the wadis at their foot.
In the mid-1950s Anna began working in the studio. The painting in the studio did not change her topics. She continued to draw the landscapes of the Judean Mountains, fragments of landscape, wadis at the foot of hills, rocks or grooves in the stone, with which she was deeply familiar from her long observations. Her confinement to the studio liberated her from direct dependence on the landscape, resulting in a change of style towards the abstract. The painstaking depiction of visible views and carefully worked out drawings were replaced by freer renditions of broad strips of landscape on larger papers.
In her last years Ticho began using additional new materials, supplementing her black-and-white drawings with touches of pastel hues, thereby reinforcing their colorful impression. She drew the same landscape in different conditions: on a bright summer's day, in the heavy heat, or during a threatening storm. All the drawings convey her storm of emotions vis-à-vis the depicted subject. Concurrently she experienced a transformation, and her colorful, near-abstract drawings became very small, ultimately to become concise encapsulations.
Anna Ticho did not form a school of her own, nor did she have disciples. She will remain inscribed in the cultural memory of Israeli drawing as an artist with a unique style whereby she conveyed what she chose: "The eternal nature is conspicuous in our city, Jerusalem, an inkling of the mystery inherent to our city, the mystery of another world."

Landscapes, Last Works, Late 1970s
Judean Hills, c. 1970
Charcoal and pastel
Dr. Ticho, 1956
India ink
The Old City, 1927
Olive Tree, 1940
Pencil and chalk
* All Works are on paper
Collection of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Bequest of Anna Ticho, Jerusalem