This book was perfect. For someone like myself who (now) has a little knowledge of Art (the capital letter here is deliberate) and some sense of history -- but who has big gaps and oceans of ignorance about the topic -- this book was perfect. It is mature, serious, to the point, absolutely free of jargon, sure, insightful -- always interesting, never pedantic -- and not eccentric in the least. Gombrich covers all the major artists and the movements they represent, and ties them together with clarity. Like one of our most knowledgeable 'friends' on the art circuit at goodreads, he is discerning, but not judgmental. Indeed, Gombrich's account of the development of modern art - up until World War II -- is fabulous, though brief. Gombrich is much less upbeat on more recent trends -- he mentions Pop, but quite deliberately (it seems) refuses to even mention Warhol's name.
I know that it's very difficult for people who know a great deal about something to recommend -- or even read - introductory books. But for anyone looking for a book of this sort, this is definitely a winner.