Larger than Life—A Tribute to Professor James Cahill
James Cahill Memorial, Berkeley Art Museum, May 10, 2014
We’ve all spent the last months trying to find words to celebrate the life of James Cahill, our sensei, colleague, friend and paterfamilias, a man who was—still is—larger than life. There have been many wonderful formal tributes to him in the press and we have Howard Rogers’ warmhearted biography in your program today, with many more to come in scholarly journals, all testifying to his unrivalled career as a writer and art historian. He received all the highest accolades the field has to offer: the College Art Association’s Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art in 2007 and the Charles Lang Freer Medal in 2010. Jim was one of only two art historians to be invited to deliver Berkeley’s annual Faculty Research lecture, which he did in 1982. His more-than two-dozen books and catalogs, countless articles and other, more ephemeral writing testify to his unceasing engagement with scholarship. He was a brilliant, original and tireless art historian and, hand-in-hand with this, he was also a great teacher, blessed with exceptional charisma, eloquence and ease and, no small thi... [show more]
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... [show more]