Professor Who Cut through the Art World's False Veneer; Sir Ernst Gombrich, Author of the Story of Art, Has Died in North London Aged 92

By Hagestadt, Emma | The Evening Standard (London, England), November 5, 2001 | Go to article overview

Professor Who Cut through the Art World's False Veneer; Sir Ernst Gombrich, Author of the Story of Art, Has Died in North London Aged 92


Hagestadt, Emma, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: EMMA HAGESTADT

PROFESSOR Sir Ernst Gombrich, author of the world's best known art book, did more than any other writer in the last 100 years to introduce a wider public to a love of art.

Successive generations of students have been drawn to The Story Of Art, his erudite survey of Western art, and his Big Idea: "There really is no such thing as art - there are only artists."

An academic who stayed firmly outside his profession's charmed circle, his book was intended as a rallying cry against snobbery and elitism, and has remained a classic.

Gombrich, who became a stalwart north Londoner, was born in Vienna in 1909 during the last days of the Austro-Habsburg empire. He came to Britain in 1936, not as a refugee, but to join the staff of the Warburg Institute, a centre of art study that had itself out-manoeuvered the Nazis by relocating to London three years earlier.

While working as a translator of foreign broadcasts at Caversham during the war, Gombrich became the first person in Britain to hear the news of Hitler's death.

One day he picked up on indications that an important announcement was imminent. The German airwaves were then suffused in mournful music which Gombrich recognised as part of a Bruckner symphony written to mark the death of Wagner. He guessed what was to come and the BBC informed Downing Street.

After the war ended, Gombrich stayed on in London. By then he was married to Ilse Heller, a music student of his mother's, with whom he had a son. He went back to work at the Warburg Institute and somewhat reluctantly buckled down to a commission from art publishers Phaidon for a history of art.

Originally conceived as a children's book, The Story Of Art was written entirely from memory without recourse to a single reference book.

Gombrich dictated his copy to a secretary three times a week, and the off-the-cuff immediacy of his prose hit a nerve. His boss at the Warburg Institute criticised his talent for "haute vulgarisation". His readers loved him for it. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Professor Who Cut through the Art World's False Veneer; Sir Ernst Gombrich, Author of the Story of Art, Has Died in North London Aged 92
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.