James Graham was born in 1873 in Belleville, Ontario. He studied at the Montréal Art Association under William Brymner from 1890-1893. He then studied at l'École des Arts et Manufactures in Montréal under Edmond Dyonnet. Continuing his studies further he attended the Slade School of Art in London in 1896, the Julian Academy in Paris under Jean-Paul Laurens, and at the Institut Superieur des Beaux-Arts in Antwerp under Julian de Vriend from 1906-09.
Throughout his life he travelled and painted extensively in England, The Netherlands, Belgium and France.
He lived briefly in Toronto and Ottawa before settling in Montréal in 1922.
Working in oil, watercolour and pastel, Graham often painted Québec landscapes including farm, and urban scenes in an Impressionist style.
He taught painting at the l'École des Beaux-Arts, in Montréal from 1896-1898.
He exhibited at the American Alliance of Museums between 1891-1945 and Royal Canadian Academy from 1893-1945. He is also a member of The Royal Canadian Academy.
His work is represented at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, and The National Gallery of Canada among others.
He died in Montréal in 1965.