The Department of History of Art is very sad to report that Professor Emeritus James Cahill, one of the world’s foremost scholars of Chinese painting, died on February 14, 2014, at his home in Berkeley. He was 87. Professor Cahill was a distinguished member of the History of Art faculty at Berkeley for thirty years until his retirement in 1995. He published more than a dozen books and hundreds of articles on Chinese and Japanese art, literally transforming the field. He built an important collection of Chinese and Japanese painting, much of which he gave to the Berkeley Art Museum, and he fostered a generation of students who went on to become teachers and curators around the world. He received multiple accolades from the College Art Association and was awarded the Freer Medal in 2012 for a lifetime of service to the History of Art. James Cahill was a brilliant and eloquent scholar who remained intellectually engaged to the end. He was a man of rare wit and poetry, an immensely generous mentor and colleague—truly one of the immortals. Obituaries have been published by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and a brief tribute can be found at the Asia Society website as well.
For more on James Cahill’s life and work and to access his series of videotaped lectures on Chinese painting, please go to jamescahill.info.