|Gahagan attended Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont where he studied with Richard Lippold. His sensitivity to color relationships and the dynamics of spatial movement and tension developed during his years as Associate Director of the Hans Hofmann School and as Hofmann's assistant during the creation of two major mosaics murals in New York City. Gahagan taught painting at Pratt Institute, Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts, and Goddard College, where he became Chairman of the Art Department. He opened the James Gahagan School of Fine Arts in Woodbury, VT during the summers of 1971-1974. His work was chosen for the 1957 traveling exhibition to 64 nations, sponsored by the United Nations and selected by Art News for a 1959 exhibit of twelve Americans in Spoleto, Italy, the same year he was awarded a Longview Purchase Grant. His work is represented in the public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of art, New York, The Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia, and the University of Art Museum in Berkley, among others. James Gahagan was featured in a documentary on Hans Hofmann that premiered on national public television in June, 2003, an abbreviated version of which was displayed continually during the Hans Hofmann exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the spring of 1999.