E. H. Gombrich Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Ernst Hans Josef Gombrich, one of the most influential art historians of the twentieth century, was born to Karl B. and Leonie Hock Gombrich. His father was a lawyer who served as vice president of the Vienna Lawyers’ Chamber, and his mother was a pianist who had been an assistant to Theodor Leschetizky and a member of the circle around Gustav Mahler. His family, like many others in post-World War I Austria, had a hard struggle; eventually the young Ernst Gombrich was sent to Sweden by the Save the Children Fund. When he was able to return to Austria, he attended the Theresianum, a school that concentrated on classical subjects. From 1928 to 1935, he attended the University of Vienna, taking courses in art history, classical archaeology, psychology, and philosophy.

At the age of twenty-six, he published a highly successful world history book for children, which quickly became available in four languages. With the Nazi threat growing in Austria, Gombrich accepted an offer to join the Warburg Institute in London in 1936. He married Ilse Heller in 1937 and became a naturalized British citizen in 1947. In 1959, he became director of the Warburg Institute, a position he held until 1976. During his career, he published almost two dozen books, held several visiting professorships, and received many prestigious fellowships and awards.

Beginning in his student days, Gombrich was more interested in the psychological, philosophical, and cultural...

(The entire section is 503 words.)


(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Ernst Hans Josef Gombrich was born in Vienna, Austria, on March 30, 1909, to Karl B. Gombrich, a lawyer, and Leonie Hock Gombrich, a pianist....

(The entire section is 459 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Gorak, Jan. The Making of the Modern Canon: Genesis and Crisis of a Literary Idea. Atlantic Heights, N.J.: Athlone, 1991. An examination of the influence of Gombrich, as well as Northrop Frye, Frank Kermode, and Edward W. Said.

Onians, John, ed. Sight and Insight: Essays on Art and Culture in Honour of E. H. Gombrich at Eighty-five. London: Phaidon Press, 1994. A Festschrift of articles inspired by Gombrich’s theories.

Pavur, Claude N. “Restoring Cultural History: Beyond Gombrich,” CLIO: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History 20, no. 2 (Winter, 1991). An interdisciplinary study that applies Gombrich’s theories.

Richmond, Shelton Saul. Aesthetic Criteria: Gombrich and the Philosophies of Science of Popper and Polanyi. Atlanta: Rodopi, 1994. Examines Gombrich’s theories in the light of those of Karl R. Popper and Michael Polanyi.

Trapp, J. B. E. H. Gombrich: A Bibliography. London: Phaidon, 2000. Includes an index.

Woodfield, Richard, ed. Gombrich on Art and Psychology. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996. A book-length study.