Professor Sir Ernst Gombrich OM was born in Vienna in 1909 and died in London on November 3, 2001, aged 92. He studied at the Theresianum and then at the Second Institute of Art History at the University of Vienna under Julius von Schlosser (1928-33). He then worked as a Research Assistant and collaborator with the museum curator and Freudian analyst Ernst Kris. He joined the Warburg Institute in London as a Research Assistant in 1936. During World War 2 he was employed by the BBC as a Radio Monitor. After the war he rejoined the Warburg Institute eventually becoming its Director in 1959.
His major publications include The Story of Art (1950), Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation (1960), Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography (1970), Symbolic Images (1972), The Sense of Order: A Study in the Psychology of Decorative Art (1979). His book, The Preference for the Primitive, which he completed before his death, was published by Phaidon in July 2002. The long-awaited English translation of A Little History of the World (Eine kurze Weltegeschichte für junge Leser), authorised by Gombrich himself, was published by Yale UP in October 2005 and republished in a newly illustrated edition in 2011. A selection from his work, The Essential Gombrich was published by Phaidon in 1996. A full bibliography of his publications to 2000, edited by J. B. Trapp, E. H. Gombrich: A Bibliography, was published by Phaidon in 2000 (the Trapp numbers in this archive refer to that volume). Visitors to this website might like to know of the new publication by Louis Rose, Psychology, Art, and Antifascism: Ernst Kris, E.H. Gombrich and the politics of caricature, New Haven and London: Yale University Press 2016.
This website has been constructed by Richard Woodfield [Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Art History at the University of Birmingham]. The site presents previously published material that does not appear in the Phaidon collection of Gombrich’s work. It is undergoing constant revision and expansion. Feedback and contributions are very welcome. Every effort is being made to obtain permissions from copyright holders in addition to the permissions obtained from the Estate of E. H. Gombrich.
The Warburg Institute Archive now also incorporates the working papers and private correspondence of E. H. Gombrich, consisting of some 10,000 catalogued items. To access those items that are open to readers, permission must be obtained in advance from the Literary Estate of E. H. Gombrich, 6 Celia Road, London N19 5ET. Please allow sufficient time for a response, which may not be immediate, before making travel or other plans. On obtaining permission, please contact the Warburg’s archivist in the usual way.