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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1951
Born October 27th
Born October 27th
1953
Young Steve’s Family
Young Steve’s Family
1959
The Huyler Family
The Huyler Family
1951-57
Raised on the campus of the Thacher School, Ojai, CA
Raised on the campus of the Thacher School, Ojai, CA
1957-68
Lived off campus a mile from Thacher
Lived off campus a mile from Thacher
1960
June-December spent camping with family throughout Europe.
June-December spent camping with family throughout Europe.

A deeply seminal experience

1966
Steve on Catalina
Steve on Catalina
1965-67
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
1969
Steve at Thacher School
Steve at Thacher School
1967-69
Junior & Senior high school years at The Thacher School, Ojai, CA
Junior & Senior high school years at The Thacher School, Ojai, CA
1968
Met My Future Bride
Met My Future Bride

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

1969-73
Undergraduate at the University of Denver.
Undergraduate at the University of Denver.

Unique interdepartmental major in Indian studies.

1971
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.
1971-72
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).

1971
First Arrived In India on 20th Birthday: October 27
First Arrived In India on 20th Birthday: October 27
1972
1st Day Back From India: Reunited With Helene (Hi)
1st Day Back From India: Reunited With Helene (Hi)
1973
Graduated from University of Denver with BA in Indian Studies
Graduated from University of Denver with BA in Indian Studies
1973
December 20th: Married Helene (Hi) on the Thacher campus in Ojai
December 20th: Married Helene (Hi) on the Thacher campus in Ojai
1974
In Denver preparing for 2nd trip to India
In Denver preparing for 2nd trip to India
1974-75
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.

1975
In Denver preparing for move to London for doctorate degree
In Denver preparing for move to London for doctorate degree
1976
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.

1976-79
Lived in Muswell Hill, North London
Lived in Muswell Hill, North London
1976-78
Hands-on Research in Indian Textiles


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

1978
Changed doctoral research to Indian Tribal (Adivasi) Culture and Art
Changed doctoral research to Indian Tribal (Adivasi) Culture and Art
1978
Six month circle tour of India with Helene studying adivasis
Six month circle tour of India with Helene studying adivasis
1978-79
Field research on Dongria Kondh Tribe, Koraput District, Orissa
Field research on Dongria Kondh Tribe, Koraput District, Orissa
1979-83
Lived in the tiny village of Helford, Cornwall
Lived in the tiny village of Helford, Cornwall
1979
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
1983
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.
1980-83
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
1979-89
Conducting field research on Indian terracottas
Conducting field research on Indian terracottas
1983
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
1985
Publication of first book

Village India
(Harry N Abrams, NY)

1985-86
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.

1985-86
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.

1988
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.

1989-1994
Conducting field research throughout India on rural women’s art
Conducting field research throughout India on rural women’s art
1991
Awarded PhD in the Art and Archaeology of South Asia by London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies

1992-98
Taught photographic masterclass each summer

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

1993
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.

1993-96
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

1995
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)

1995
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

1995
Exhibition:Painted Prayers, Crafts Museum, New Delhi
Exhibition:<em>Painted Prayers</em>, Crafts Museum, New Delhi
1996
Publication of Gifts of Earth: Terracottas & Clay Sculptures of India


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

1996-2000
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!

1996
Taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Indian art at Ohio State University
Taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Indian art at Ohio State University
1998
Exhibition:Painted Prayers, National Museum, Lima, Peru
Exhibition:<em>Painted Prayers</em>, National Museum, Lima, Peru
1999
Publication of Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion (Yale University Press)

1999
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

2000
Exhibition: Meeting God in museums throughout India
Exhibition: Meeting God in museums throughout India

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

2001
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.

2002-2003
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
2002
Publication of Korean Edition of Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion

2003
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
2003
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.

2005
Passing of Margaret Noble Appenzeller Huyler, Stephen’s mother, on 9/11
Passing of Margaret Noble Appenzeller Huyler, Stephen’s mother, on 9/11
2006
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

2008
Publication of Daughters of India: Art & Identity


(NY: Abbeville Press & Ahmedabad: Mapin Press)

2008
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

2008
Release of documentary film


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

2009
Stephen’s First Ganeshmobile
Stephen’s First Ganeshmobile
2009
Lecture tour ofDaughters of India through Indian cities
Lecture tour of<em>Daughters of India</em>  through Indian cities
2009
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
2009
Exhibition Daughters of India at the Fowler Museum, UCLA
Exhibition <em>Daughters of India</em> at the Fowler Museum, UCLA
2009-10
Exhibition: Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing


Mingei International Museum, San Diego

2009
Release of documentary film


Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing

2009
Milagro Award for Best Short Documentary
Milagro Award for Best Short Documentary

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

2010
Exhibition: From India and Beyond: Gifts from Stephen Huyler and the Pal Family Collection

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

2014
Passing of Jack Huyler, Stephen’s father
Passing of Jack Huyler, Stephen’s father
2013
40th Wedding Anniversary, December 20

2014
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

2015-17
Co-authoring Mystery Novel with Helene Huyler
Co-authoring Mystery Novel with Helene Huyler

A Question of Hue-as yet unpublished

2016
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

2016
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.

2016
Exhibition: Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing
Otterbein University, Columbus, Ohio

2020
Stephen’s Second Ganeshmobile
Stephen’s Second Ganeshmobile
2018
Exhibition: Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing
Riverside Gallery, Ypsilanti, Michigan

Riverside Gallery, Ypsilanti, Michigan
2020
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.

TRANSFORMED BY INDIA…A LIFE

TRANSFORMED BY INDIA…A LIFE: 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