Stephen Little

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Dr. Stephen Little, 2011

Dr. Stephen Little Ph.D. (born 1954) is an American Asian art scholar, museum administrator and artist.


Stephen Little's father was a linguist and cultural attaché for the government of the United States.[1] Little was raised in Indonesia, Cambodia, Burma, and Turkey, not living in the United States until age 11. He initially studied nuclear physics, but changed his major to Chinese art.[2] He received a B.A. from Cornell University in 1975, an M.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1977, and a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1987. He held curatorial positions at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (1977–1982), the Cleveland Museum of Art (1987–1989), and the Honolulu Museum of Art (1989–1994). He held the Pritzker Curatorship of Asian Art at the Art Institute of Chicago (1995–2002), prior to becoming Director of the Honolulu Museum of Art in 2003.[3] In 2011, Dr. Little left Hawaii to join the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where he is currently the Florence and Harry Sloan Curator of Chinese Art and Department Head, Chinese & Korean Art Departments.


  • Bartholomew, Terese Tse, John Johnston and Stephen Little, The Dragon's Gift, the Sacred Arts of Bhutan, Chicago, Serindia Publications, 2008.
  • Butler, Michael, Julia B. Curtis, & Stephen Little, Treasures from an unknown reign, Shunzhi porcelain, 1644-1661, Alexandria, Va., Art Services International, 2002, ISBN 0-295-98213-6
  • Butler, Michael, Margaret Medley & Stephen Little, Seventeenth-century Chinese porcelain from the Butler family collection, Alexandria, Va., Art Services International, 1990.
  • Curtis, Julia B. & Stephen Little, Chinese porcelains of the seventeenth century, landscapes, scholars' motifs and narratives, New York City, China Institute Gallery, 1995, ISBN 0-295-97467-2
  • Curtis, Julia B., Stephen Little & Mary Ann Rogers, Trade taste and transformation, Jingdezhen porcelain for Japan, 1620-1645, New York, China Institute Gallery, 2006. ISBN 0-9774054-0-0
  • Little, Stephen, The Alsdorf collection of Japanese paintings, Honolulu, Hawaii, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2003, ISBN 0-937426-60-1
  • Little, Stephen, Chinese ceramics of the transitional period, 1620-1683, New York, China House Gallery, China Institute in America, 1983.
  • Little, Stephen, Realm of the immortals, Daoism in the arts of China, the Cleveland Museum of Art, February 10-April 10, 1988, Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland Museum of Art, 1988, ISBN 0-910386-92-7
  • Little, Stephen, Spirit stones of China, the Ian and Susan Wilson collection of Chinese stones, paintings, and related scholars' objects, Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, 1999, ISBN 0-86559-173-3
  • Little, Stephen, Visions of the Dharma, Japanese Buddhist paintings and prints in the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1991, ISBN 0-937426-14-8
  • Little, Stephen and Peter Ruthenberg, Neo Rauch, Works 1994-2002, The Leipziger Volkseitung Collection, Honolulu, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2005, ISBN 0-937426-65-2
  • Little, Stephen, Shawn Eichman & Patricia Ebrey, Taoism and the arts of China, Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, 2000, ISBN 0-520-22784-0
  • Little, Stephen, Richard Fabian & Janet Carpenter, New songs on ancient tunes, 19th-20th century Chinese paintings and calligraphy from the Richard Fabian collection, Honolulu, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2007, ISBN 978-0-937426-79-1
  • Pal, Pratapaditya & Stephen Little, A collecting odyssey, Indian, Himalayan, and Southeast Asian art from the James and Marilynn Alsdorf collection, New York, N.Y., Art Institute of Chicago in association with Thames and Hudson, 1997, ISBN 0-500-97454-3
  • Little, Stephen, View of the Pinnacle: Japanese Lacquer Writing Boxes - The Lewis Collection of Suzuribako, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 2012
  • Little, Stephen,"Landscapes in the Chinese Style," in James Rondeau & Sheena Wagstaff, Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2012, pp 88–93
  • Little, Stephen, Ming Masterpieces from the Shanghai Museum, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2013
  • Little, Stephen, Chinese Paintings from Japanese Collections [Exh. cat.], Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2014)
  • Little, Stephen, Wu Bin’s "Ten Views of a Lingbi Rock", in Marcus Flacks, et al., Crags and Ravines Make a Marvelous View: A Study of Wu Bin's Unique 17th Century Scroll Painting "Ten Views of a Lingbi Rock", London, Sylph Editions, 2017
  • Little, Stephen, 17th-Century Chinese Paintings from the Tsao Family Collection [Exh. cat.], Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2016 [Winner of the 2017 George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award]

Dr. Little as artist[edit]

Bolinas, acrylic on canvas painting by Stephen Little, 2009

Dr. Little has painted all his adult life. He currently works in a minimalist style strongly influenced by East Asian ink and wash painting, especially works by the 13th century Chan (Zen) painters Muqi and Yujian.[4] Bolinas, from 2009, exemplifies this style. Dr. Little's acrylic on canvas painting titled 4.29.09 is in the collection of the Hawaii State Art Museum.[5]


  1. ^ Kam, Nadine, International influence, Stephen Little brings a world of inspiration to Honolulu Academy of Arts, HILuxury, Vol. 3, Issue 5, Feb./Mar. 2010, p. 72
  2. ^ Cook, Lynn, For viewers, artist’s ‘Ocean’ far from empty, Honolulu Advertiser, Nov. 29, 2009, p. D6
  3. ^ Bartholomew, Terese Tse, John Johnston and Stephen Little, The Dragon's Gift, the Sacred Arts of Bhutan, Chicago, Serindia Publications, 2008, p. 379
  4. ^ Dr. Little's biography Archived 2014-02-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Forbes, David W., He Makana, The Gertrude Mary Joan Damon Haig Collection of Hawaiian Art, Paintings and Prints, Hawaii State Foundation of Culture and the Arts, 2013, pp. 78-81