PRINT February 2002


Richard Wollheim on E.H. Gombrich

E.H. Gombrich, ca. 1990
 Photo: Jane Bown

Daumier said: “We must follow our own time.” And Ingres said: “But what if the time is wrong.”—E.H. Gombrich and Didier Eribon, Looking for Answers: Conversations on Art and Science (1993)

THE ART HISTORIAN Ernst Hans Josef Gombrich was born on March 30, 1909, and died on November 3, 2001. The ninety-two years that he spanned were no ordinary ninety-two years, nor was the life that he crammed into them an ordinary life. Gombrich lived through the dissolution of the great empires of Europe, the destruction of some of its grandest cities and monuments, the excesses of the various nationalisms into which it dissolved, and the continuous, sometimes frenetic questioning of its cultural norms. And through the circumstances of his upbringing and career, he was no mere onlooker to these great historic convulsions. Born in Vienna, where his mother, a pianist, was the pupil of Bruckner and

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