Art/ Collection/ Art Object


Magdalene Odundo (British, born Nairobi, Kenya, 1950)
Red clay
19 3/4 x 13 in. (50.2 x 33 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Katcher Family Foundation Inc. Gift, and Gift of Susan Dwight Bliss, by exchange, 1998
Accession Number:
Not on view
Magdalene Odundo's vessels blend multiple associations and meanings in a manner that makes them simultaneously familiar and novel. Using the ancient coiling method, she begins by pulling a cone of clay upward as its middle is hollowed out to form the body of the vessel. Variations in the voluptuous body are expressed in the profile, gesture of the neck, and protruding nodules and then transformed and finished through firing. A partial reduction of oxygen created the gray/black tones of this piece, but the exact outcome is never completely controllable, adding an element of chance to the artistic process. The Kenyan-born artist's work is often linked to the pottery traditions of Africa. While a connection seems implicit, Odundo did not begin working in clay until she moved to Britain.
Inscription: Signed and dated (bottom center): Odundo / 1997
the artist (1997–98; sold through Michael Hue Williams Fine Art Limited, London to MMA)

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Clay into Art: Selections from the Collection of Contemporary Ceramics in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 24, 1998–May 30, 1999, unnumbered cat. (pl. 10).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Curator's Eye: J. Stewart Johnson, 1990–2004," March 1–November 6, 2005, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "One of a Kind: The Studio Craft Movement," December 22, 2006–December 2, 2007, no catalogue.

Jane Adlin. Contemporary Ceramics: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, pp. 9, 48, colorpl. 10.

Simon Olding. "Magdalene Odundo: Ceramics and Curatorship." Magdalene Odundo. Ed. Anthony Slayter-Ralph. Hampshire, 2004, p. 119, no. 119, ill. p. 85 (color).

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