Magda Cordell

  • Born 1921 in Hungary
  • Died 2008 in Sloan, NY, USA
Hungarian artist Magda Cordell fled to Egypt and Palestine as a refugee during World War II. There she worked as a translator and met her first husband, the composer Frank Cordell (1918–1980), with whom she settled in London in the early 1950s. The couple shared their studio with Magda’s later husband, the artist John McHale (1922–1978). They contributed to founding the Independent Group (IG), a British art collective that anticipated Pop art, in 1952. Cordell was heavily involved in organizing the IG exhibition This Is Tomorrow at London’s Whitechapel Gallery in 1956. All her life Cordell considered herself a painter above all, although her most productive phase as an artist was during the 1950s. Cordell’s paintings show distorted female figures and were often compared to works of Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985) and art brut. Lawrence Alloway (1926–1990) also read atomic influences and a relationship to Abstract Expressionism in her work. When she and McHale moved to the United States in 1961, he worked with Buckminster Fuller at Southern Illinois University. The McHales started to pursue an academic career in futurology, and established the Center for Integrative Studies at the State University of New York Binghamton in 1968. Later she taught futurology and art in Houston, TX and Buffalo, NY.

Artworks by Magda Cordell in the exhibition