Stephen P. Huyler is an art historian, cultural anthropologist, photographer and author conducting a lifelong survey of the India’s sacred art and crafts and their meanings within rural societies. He has spent an average of four months each year during the last five decades traveling in Indian villages documenting craftsmanship and contemporary traditions.

Huyler has served as a consultant and/or guest curator for more than twenty-five museum exhibitions of Indian art, including shows at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of International Folk Art (Santa Fe), the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Natural Science and Mingei International Museum (San Diego).

He is acknowledged as a leading photographer of India with an invaluable and extensive image archive. He has had many solo exhibitions of his images at such venues as the Smithsonian, the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Kodak Center for Creative Imaging.

Stephen Huyler has published six books: Village India Abrams (1984), Painted Prayers: Women’s Art in Village India Rizzoli (1994), Gifts of Earth: Terracottas and Clay Sculptures of India Mapin (1996) and Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion Yale University Press, (1999). Daughters of India: Art and Identity Abbeville (2008), and Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing Mapin (2009).

Dr. Huyler lives in Camden, Maine, although he spends several months each winter in India and during the rest of the year frequently travels to lecture in universities and museums in the U.S. and the U.K.

TIMELINE: 1951-PRESENT

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  • Born October 27th

    Born October 27th
  • Young Steve’s Family

    Young Steve’s Family
  • Raised on the campus of the Thacher School, Ojai, CA

    Raised on the campus of the Thacher School, Ojai, CA
  • Lived off campus a mile from Thacher

    Lived off campus a mile from Thacher
  • The Huyler Family

    The Huyler Family
  • June-December spent camping with family throughout Europe.

    June-December spent camping with family throughout Europe.

    A deeply seminal experience

  • Boarded at the Catalina Island School for Boys, 29 miles off the coast of CA

    Boarded at the Catalina Island School for Boys, 29 miles off the coast of CA
  • Steve on Catalina

    Steve on Catalina
  • Junior & Senior high school years at The Thacher School, Ojai, CA

    Junior & Senior high school years at The Thacher School, Ojai, CA
  • Steve at Thacher School

    Steve at Thacher School
  • Met My Future Bride

    Met My Future Bride

    Met Helene Wheeler at a square dance in Jackson Hole, WY

  • Undergraduate at the University of Denver.

    Undergraduate at the University of Denver.

    Unique interdepartmental major in Indian studies.

  • September Left For Two-Month Overland Trip to India by himself by local transport.

    September Left For Two-Month Overland Trip to India by himself by local transport.
  • Seven Months Traveling Thru India Conducting Field Research

    Seven Months Traveling Thru India Conducting Field Research

    Mentors Kamaladevi and Rukmini Devi important to Indian readers (photos). Began lifelong cross-cultural survey of Indian folk arts and crafts. Engaged to be married to Helene Wheeler (Hi).

  • First Arrived In India on 20th Birthday: October 27

    First Arrived In India on 20th Birthday: October 27
  • 1st Day Back From India: Reunited With Helene (Hi)

    1st Day Back From India: Reunited With Helene (Hi)
  • Graduated from University of Denver with BA in Indian Studies

    Graduated from University of Denver with BA in Indian Studies
  • December 20th: Married Helene (Hi) on the Thacher campus in Ojai

    December 20th: Married Helene (Hi) on the Thacher campus in Ojai
  • In Denver preparing for 2nd trip to India

    In Denver preparing for 2nd trip to India
  • Overland trip with Hi from Munich to Delhi and 7 months travel thru India

    Overland trip with Hi from Munich to Delhi and 7 months travel thru India

    Continuing survey of rural arts and crafts; Helene almost died of rare case of empyema – consequent lung surgery in Bombay.

  • In Denver preparing for move to London for doctorate degree

    In Denver preparing for move to London for doctorate degree
  • June moved to London

    June moved to London

    Enrolled in London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in MPhil-PhD program in Indian art and archaeology.

  • Lived in Muswell Hill, North London

    Lived in Muswell Hill, North London
  • Hands-on Research in Indian Textiles


    Victoria and Albert Museum, London, as preparation for PhD on South Asian embroideries

  • Changed doctoral research to Indian Tribal (Adivasi) Culture and Art

    Changed doctoral research to Indian Tribal (Adivasi) Culture and Art
  • Six month circle tour of India with Helene studying adivasis

    Six month circle tour of India with Helene studying adivasis
  • Field research on Dongria Kondh Tribe, Koraput District, Orissa

    Field research on Dongria Kondh Tribe, Koraput District, Orissa
  • Lived in the tiny village of Helford, Cornwall

    Lived in the tiny village of Helford, Cornwall
  • Forced to change subject of doctoral dissertation from Tribal Material Culture to a Survey of Indian Terracotta Vessels and Sculptures

    Forced to change subject of doctoral dissertation from Tribal Material Culture to a Survey of Indian Terracotta Vessels and Sculptures
  • Moved to Camden, Maine, where Stephen and Hi still live to this day.

    Moved to Camden, Maine, where Stephen and Hi still live to this day.
  • Four Months Each Year Working For Rukmini Devi Arundale at Kalakshtetra College, Madras

    Four Months Each Year Working For Rukmini Devi Arundale at Kalakshtetra College, Madras
  • Conducting field research on Indian terracottas

    Conducting field research on Indian terracottas
  • Terracotta, an exhibition and catalog for the Crafts Council of India, Madras

    <em>Terracotta</em>, an exhibition and catalog for the Crafts Council of India, Madras
  • Publication of first book

    Village India
    (Harry N Abrams, NY)

  • Exhibition: Forms of Mother Earth: Contemporary Terracottas of India


    Mingei International Museum of Art, San Diego, as part of the Festival of India. Huyler co-curated the exhibition with Martha Longenecker and provided many of the displayed objects.

  • Exhibition: From Indian Earth: 4000 Years of Terracotta Art


    Brooklyn Museum of Art as part of the Festival of India. Huyler assisted Curator Amy Poster in gathering material, providing photographic prints and objects from his own collection.

  • Led first tour of India for the Smithsonian Associates

    Led first tour of India for the Smithsonian Associates

    First of 17 professional tours of India, some for the Smithsonian, some privately, over the next 20 years.

  • Conducting field research throughout India on rural women’s art

    Conducting field research throughout India on rural women’s art
  • Awarded PhD in the Art and Archaeology of South Asia by London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies

  • Taught photographic masterclass each summer

    The Ethics of Photographing Ethnic Cultures at the Maine Photographic Workshops (now Maine Media Workshops)

  • Exhibition: Mud, Mirror & Thread: Folk Traditions of Rural India

    Co-curated exhibition at the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, and authored 2 chapters of the published catalog of the same title.

  • Field Research On Hinduism

    Field Research On Hinduism

    Preparing material and choosing sacred objects in preparation for display in my upcoming exhibition Puja: Expressions of Hindu Devotion

  • Publication of Painted Prayers: Women’s Art In Village India

    Publication of <em>Painted Prayers</em>: Women’s Art In Village India

    (Rizzoli, New York with co-editions in London, Paris, and Hamburg)

  • Exhibition: Painted Prayers: Women’s Art in Village India

    Exhibition: <em>Painted Prayers: Women’s Art in Village India</em>

    At the Smithsonian’s Arthur M Sackler Gallery as well as in other museums throughout the US and India

  • Exhibition:Painted Prayers, Crafts Museum, New Delhi

    Exhibition:<em>Painted Prayers</em>, Crafts Museum, New Delhi
  • Publication of Gifts of Earth: Terracottas & Clay Sculptures of India


    (Mapin Press & the Indira Gandhi Center for the Arts)

  • Exhibition: Puja: Expressions of Hindu Devotion at the Smithsonian Institution

    Exhibition: <em>Puja: Expressions of Hindu Devotion</em> at the Smithsonian Institution

    At the Smithsonian’s Arthur M Sackler Gallery. It was intended to be open for 6 months, but by popular demand was open for 4 years with 750,000 recorded visitors!

  • Taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Indian art at Ohio State University

    Taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Indian art at Ohio State University
  • Exhibition:Painted Prayers, National Museum, Lima, Peru

    Exhibition:<em>Painted Prayers</em>, National Museum, Lima, Peru
  • Publication of Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion (Yale University Press)

  • Exhibition: Touching Fire: Elements of Devotion in India

    Exhibition: Touching Fire: Elements of Devotion in India

    Touching Fire: Elements of Devotion in India at the Houston Museum of Natural Science

  • Exhibition: Meeting God in museums throughout India

    Exhibition: Meeting God in museums throughout India

    New Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar, Vadodara, & Mumbai

  • Exhbition: Meeting God at the American Musuem of Natural History

    Exhbition: Meeting God at the American Musuem of Natural History

    At the American Museum of Natural History, New York, just 4 days before 9/11! In consequence, the entire planned trajectory of the show was changed, 7 future American venues cancelled.

  • Exhibtion: Meeting God: Elements of Devotion In India at the New Walk Museum, Leicester, UK

    Exhibtion: Meeting God: Elements of Devotion In India at the New Walk Museum, Leicester, UK
  • Publication of Korean Edition of Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion

  • Exhibition: Meeting God: Elements of Devotion in India at the Bradford Museum, Bradford, UK

    Exhibition: <em>Meeting God: Elements of Devotion in India</em> at the Bradford Museum, Bradford, UK
  • Exhibition: India Unfolding: The Photography of Stephen Huyler

    Exhibition: India Unfolding: The Photography of Stephen Huyler

    At the Maine Center for Contemporary Art, Rockport, Maine.

  • Passing of Margaret Noble Appenzeller Huyler, Stephen’s mother, on 9/11

    Passing of Margaret Noble Appenzeller Huyler, Stephen’s mother, on 9/11
  • Donation of Stephen Huyler’s Collection to Mingei International Museum, San Diego

    Donation of Stephen Huyler’s Collection to Mingei International Museum, San Diego

    650 items of Indian folk art and craft to Mingei International Museum, San Diego

  • Publication of Daughters of India: Art & Identity


    (NY: Abbeville Press & Ahmedabad: Mapin Press)

  • Exhibition: India Adorned: Selections from the Stephen P Huyler Collection

    Exhibition: <em>India Adorned: Selections from the Stephen P Huyler Collection</em>

    Mingei International Museum, San Diego

  • Release of documentary film


    Eye For India: Stephen Huyler’s Enthusiastic Journey of Discovery

  • Stephen’s First Ganeshmobile

    Stephen’s First Ganeshmobile
  • Lecture tour ofDaughters of India through Indian cities

    Lecture tour of<em>Daughters of India</em>  through Indian cities
  • Meeting with each of the women featured in Daughters of India to give them the book

    Meeting with each of the women featured in Daughters of India to give them the book
  • Exhibition Daughters of India at the Fowler Museum, UCLA

    Exhibition <em>Daughters of India</em> at the Fowler Museum, UCLA
  • Exhibition: Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing


    Mingei International Museum, San Diego

  • Release of documentary film


    Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing

  • Milagro Award for Best Short Documentary

    Milagro Award for Best Short Documentary

    From the Santa Fe Film Festival for Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing

  • Exhibition: From India and Beyond: Gifts from Stephen Huyler and the Pal Family Collection

    Santa Barbara Museum of Art

  • 40th Wedding Anniversary, December 20

  • Passing of Jack Huyler, Stephen’s father

    Passing of Jack Huyler, Stephen’s father
  • Exhibition: Huyler’s Pure Delicious Chocolate 1874-1925: A Golden Age of Marketing Design

    Exhibition: Huyler’s Pure Delicious Chocolate 1874-1925: A Golden Age of Marketing Design

    Mingei International Museum, San Diego

  • Co-authoring Mystery Novel with Helene Huyler

    Co-authoring Mystery Novel with Helene Huyler

    A Question of Hue-as yet unpublished

  • Exhibition: Puja and Piety: Hindu Jain and Buddhist Art from the Indian Subcontinent

    Exhibition: <em>Puja and Piety: Hindu Jain and Buddhist Art from the Indian Subcontinent</em>

    Co-curated by Huyler at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

  • Publication of Puja and Piety: Hindu, Jain and Buddhist Art from the Indian Subcontinent


    Catalog published by University of California Press with chapter on Hinduism by Huyler.

  • Exhibition: Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing

    Otterbein University, Columbus, Ohio

  • Stephen’s Second Ganeshmobile

    Stephen’s Second Ganeshmobile
  • Exhibition: Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing

    Riverside Gallery, Ypsilanti, Michigan

    Riverside Gallery, Ypsilanti, Michigan
  • Writing Memoirs of 50 years in India


    A Life Transformed by India – As yet unpublished

Woman painting her daily kolam outside her home in Chhotamangalam, Chettinad, Tamil Nadu

Mastercraftsman Abdullah Ibrahim now uses an electric wheel to throw his traditional vessels. Kavda, Kachchh, Gujarat

Every morning of the year, scores of women in the ancient town of Badami, Karnataka, beat their clothes against stone steps worn down through millennia of similar washings.

INSPIRED: A LIFE TRANSFORMED

INSPIRED: A LIFE TRANSFORMED BY INDIA A MEMOIR BY STEPHEN P. HUYLER

With compelling story, wit, insight and candor, American author Stephen Huyler leads the reader into the heart of India. It is a country and culture he knows and loves well. Beginning with his arrival on his twentieth birthday, he spins tales of a young man’s fascination that grows and seasons into a rare relationship that has lasted half a century. Few foreigners have traveled as extensively in India as he. Huyler has learned to feel the pulse of the people. His innate adaptability has engendered an ability to be truly quiet, observing, accepting, and accepted by a remarkable range of individuals from maharajah to musician, Brahman to Dalit, and politician to potter. His memoirs are an evocation of an India rarely seen by outsiders: portraits of people, places and customs. The book combines humor with pathos, delight with dismay, sacred with secular, and tranquility with suspense. His personal narrative flows and unfolds seamlessly through a life transformed by India.

SEE INDIA THROUGH STEPHEN’S EYES