Papers created by Asian art historian, curator, and collector Dr. James Francis Cahill. Includes personal and professional correspondence and project files documenting his many publications, lectures and activities in the Asian art field. Documents span his early career at the Freer Gallery of Art, where he served as curator of Chinese art from 1957-1965, and his tenure 1965-1994 as Professor of the History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley.
Scope and Content Note:
The James Cahill Papers span the years 1945 to 1996 and measures 15 linear feet. The collection includes: personal and administrative correspondence with other art historians, art dealers and collectors; lecture manuscripts and administrative material and correspondence with art museums, universities and other organizations in the Asian art community. There are also several personal letters and postcards with family friends of James and Dorothy Cahill. The folder descriptions were retained from Cahill's own folder titles and organized alphabetically within each series.
The collection is arranged into 2 series:
Series 1 -- Project Files, 1945-1996
Series 2 -- Correspondence with Individuals, 1945-1996
1926 -- Born, Fort Bragg, CA
1950 -- Receives BA degree in Oriental Languages from University of California, Berkeley
1952 -- Receives MA degree in Art History from University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor
Circa 1953 -- Holds a museum training fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
1954-1955 -- Studies with Shujiro Shimada at Kyoto University in Japan on a Fulbright Scholarship
1956 -- Works with Osvald Sirén in Stockholm on his seven-volume series "Chinese Painting: Leading Masters and Principles" Joins staff of Freer and Sackler Gallery as Curator of Chinese Art
1958 -- Receives PhD in Art History from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, working principally with Max Loehr
1960 -- Publishes first and highly influential book: "Chinese Painting." In: Treasures of Asia series, Editions d'Art Albert Skira, Geneva, Switzerland 1960. Published also in French and German editions
1965 -- Leaves the Freer and Sackler Gallery to accept position as Professor of History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley
1973 -- Goes to China as member of the Chinese Archaeological Delegation, first group of art historians to visit China from the US
1976 -- Publishes first of projected five-volume series on later Chinese paintings: "Hills Beyond a River: Chinese Painting of the Yuan Dynasty"
1977 -- Visits China as chairman of Chinese Old Painting Delegation
1978 -- Publishes second of projected five-volume series on later Chinese painting: "Parting At the Shore: Chinese Painting of the Early and Middle Ming Dynasty"
1978-1979 -- Accepts appointment as Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard; delivers series of lectures titled, "The Compelling Image: Nature and Style in 17th Century Chinese Painting"
1982 -- Publishes "Barnhart-Cahill-Rogers Correspondence, 1981" (collection of correspondence published for colleagues) The Harvard lecture series: "The Compelling Image: Nature and Style in 17th Century Chinese Painting" published as a book, receives College of Art Association's Morey Prize for Best Art History book
1998-1999 -- Spends a year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton with his wife, the art historian and artist Hsingyuan Tsao
2007 -- Former students organize 80th birthday party/symposium at Berkeley, titled: "Returning to the Shore"
2010 -- Became the 12th Recipient of the Charles Lang Freer Medal
Present -- Living in Vancouver, Canada
The James Cahill website, http://www.jamescahill.info/ which contains digitized versions of selected unpublished papers, correspondence and personal reminisces.
Gift of James Cahill.
Access is by appointment only, Monday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please contact the Archives to make an appointment. Access to correspondence may be restricted and/or delayed. A minimum of two week's notice is required to view any correspondence; consult repository for details.
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.