James Herbert is an internationally known American painter and filmmaker. His work is known for its obsession with the nude figure in romantic and erotic figurations with an emphasis on the role of sexuality and scene context. Herbert was born in 1938 in Boston and grew up in Rhode Island. He began his informal art education as a teenager attending nude figure drawing classes at the Rhode Island School of Design. He earned his B.A. degree in art history from Dartmouth College in 1960 and his M.F.A. in painting in 1962 from the University of Colorado where he studied briefly with Clyfford Still and Stan Brakhage.
In 1962 he moved to Athens, Georgia where he taught painting and filmmaking at the University of Georgia for many years. A large retrospective of his paintings was held at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta in 1979. While in Athens he made many music videos for R.E.M. and the B52s. He made numerous short films of nudes in the Southern landscape in and around Athens. An early film "Porch Glider", made on a grant from the American Film Institute premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
His first solo show of paintings in New York City was in 1970 at the Poindexter Gallery where he showed for many years until its closing.
Herbert's paintings and films have been exhibited in numerous solo and major group exhibitions including two Whitney Biennials, the Walker Art Center and the Los Angeles County Museum, and his work is represented in many museums and archives, as well as private collections, including the Centre Pompidou in France, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, King and Spalding, Atlanta, Coca Cola U.S.A., and Michael Stipe, Gus Van Sant, Elton John and Martin Scorsese.
Herbert received two fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation , one for film, the other for painting. He received a painting grant from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation and a residency from the Rockefeller Foundation at the Bellagio Center in Italy.
He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and Athens, Georgia.