Sionah Tagger is the most important female Israeli artist from the early decades of the 20th century.
She was born in Jaffa in 1900 to a Bulgarian family who immigrated to Ereẓ Israel in 1880. Her parents Shmuel and Sultana Tagger were among the founders of the Aḥuzat Bayit quarter, from which Tel Aviv grew.
Between the years 1921-22, Tagger studied at the Bezalel Art Academy in Jerusalem under the guidance of Boris Schatz and Abel Pann. In 1924 she traveled to Paris, where she was tutored by André Lhote and participated in the exhibition of the Salon des Indépendents.
In 1925 Tagger returned to Israel and joined a group of modern painters including Israel Paldi, Reuven Rubin, Arieh Lubin, Joseph Zaritsky, and others. She co-exhibited with them in the Ohel and the Tower of David. Tagger joined the Hebrew Artists Association in 1930 and became one of the founders of the Tel Aviv branch of the Israel Painters and Sculptors Association.
Over the years Tagger continued to exhibit her paintings in Israel as well as outside of the country. In 1937 she was awarded the Dizengoff Prize from the municipality of Tel Aviv. During the Second World War, she volunteered for the British Army and in 1942 joined the Haganah.
In 1948 Tagger represented Israel in the Venice Biennale. In 1952 she settled in the artists’ colony in Safed. She remained a figurative painter, even in her most abstract phases, but perhaps is best known for her portraiture. In 1977 Tagger was awarded the title ‘Honored Citizen of Tel Aviv’. She passed away in the spring of 1988.