Anna Rychter-May

Anna Rychter-May (1865-1955)

 Anna and Tadeusz Rychter came to Jerusalem from Germany in 1923. He was commissioned to restore stained glass windows in churches. She earned a living by selling miniatures in the old city. The Rychters were accepted into the Jerusalem art community even though they were not Jewish. They were especially close to Ludwig Blum and Leopold Krakauer.

 Both were high standard academic water-colourists. Their works combine professionalism and poetry. Anna, born to a German aristocratic family, held her maiden name – May. Tadeusz was a member of the Jerusalem Artist Association but was banned from the national artist association despite his many achievements – maybe because he was Christian.

 In 1939, with the beginning of the Second World War, Tadeusz returned to Poland. One can only guess what motivated him – perhaps his great love of Eretz Israel and his need to defend it. However, it cost him his life for he did not return. The Nazis caught him and killed him. Anna stayed in Jerusalem until her death in 1955 at the age of 90. To the end she did not know the exact fate of her husband.

 Art works by the Rychters are relatively rare, especially those of Anna. Some have come up for sale in London, maybe because the British acquired their work during the Mandate period. Anna’s great talent was depicting the Israeli landscape as if it was a biblical vision. Each small detail is painted with great attention, preserving a temporary sight for the next generation.