by Sandy Ikeda
Many of you have read or at least know of E.H. Gombrich’s The Story of Art, a book that any serious student of art history should have in his library (along with the authoritative but somewhat-less-user-friendly History of Art by H.W. Janson). It’s the best-selling book on art in the world, having gone through some sixteen editions.
Now, this semester (in my dotage) I’ve been attending an adult-education class at NYU called “Creative Cities in History,” taught by the excellent architectural historian, and my former colleague at The New York Sun (where he was the architectural critic and I was a mere blogger), Francis Morrone. Francis has encyclopedic knowledge of the art and architecture of New York City, as well as of most of the other great cities in Western history. Needless to say, I’ve learned a great deal from this marvelous course.
Recently, Francis told me another thing I didn’t know: Gombrich and F.A. Hayek were close personal friends. Gombrich, also an Austrian, was a little younger than Hayek but also attended the University of Vienna. This Wikipedia entry indicates that Gombrich was instrumental in getting Popper’s Open Society and Its Enemies published.
Here is a short video of Charlie Rose interviewing Gombrich. (According to Francis, Gombrich mentions his friendship with Popper and Hayek in a series of interviews with…I didn’t quite catch the name…perhaps “Didier Aaron”? I’ll check this at next week’s class.)