James Cahill received his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in 1958, and was Curator of Chinese Art at the Freer Gallery of Art from 1958-1965. He taught at UC Berkeley from 1965 until his retirement in 1995. He was a recipient of the College Art Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art and the Charles Lang Freer Medal, an award established by the Smithsonian Institution to honor distinguished career contributions in the history of Asian and Near Eastern Art.
His most recent book, Pictures for Use and Pleasure: Vernacular Painting in High Qing China was published by the University of California Press. His main late-life project is a series of lengthy video-recorded lectures on Chinese painting through the Song dynasty, posted for free viewing on his website, jamescahill.info, and the Institute of East Asian Studies.