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Madden is well known in both Ireland and France where she has divided her time for the past forty years. Of Irish and Anglo-Chilean origin, Anne Madden spent her first years in Chile. Her parents returned to Europe when she was four years of age to live in Ireland and in London, where she subsequently attended the Chelsea School of Arts and Crafts. During this period she was impressed by an important exhibition of American painting at the Royal Academy, particularly by the works of Sam Francis and Jean-Paul Riopelle. It was Abstract Expressionism that opened up new possibilities of experimentation for her at that time. She later met these artists in Paris along with Joan Mitchell and others with whom she exchanged works. The techniques employed included palette knife and paint flows and soon involved the use of multiple canvases as a means of creating pictorial interactions.
She began to exhibit in group shows in London and Dublin from the age of 18. The Burren and her love of lonely places informed these early paintings. Her work was then interrupted for three years by a series of operations on her spine. During that time she met the painter Louis le Brocquy who was then working in London. They married in 1958 and set up house and studio in the south of France, where two sons were born to them, Alexis and Pierre.
the mid sixties on, their comparatively reclusive life in Carros village was changed by the opening of the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul, where over the years they were constantly meeting painters, sculptors, writers, poets, and musicians forming friendships resumed in Paris and elsewhere. In 1965 Anne Madden represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale, before regularly exhibiting in that city. From the 1960s she began to paint a series of abstract landscapes influenced by her time as a young girl in the west of Ireland, near the Burren in Co. Clare. Between 1970 and 1979 Madden painted a large series of vertical works, their size determined by her height and reach. Reflecting on life and death, the works derived from megaliths and other prehistoric monuments. In the 1980s Madden stopped painting for a time and devoted herself to drawing, this resulted in a series of large works in graphite and oil paint on paper entitled Openings, which formed the exhibition of her work at the Fondation Maeght, in 1983 and represented her in ROSC '84. Madden then returned to painting on canvas and has continued to develop and produce a large body of work. She returned to painting on canvas and developed a large body of work which was included in a retrospective, sponsored by the Arts Council in 1991, and exhibited in the R.H.A. Gallagher Galleries, Dublin. She has exhibited widely in both solo and group exhibitions and her work is represented in many public collections.
Her book Louis le Brocquy, Seeing His Way was published in 1993 (Gill & Macmillan). A year later she received an important commission from Dr. Ronald Tallon, architect of the O'Reilly Hall at U.C.D., to paint one of the ten large paintings displayed within the Aula Maxima. In 1999 the hillside village of Carros in the south of France commissioned Anne Madden to paint a large vaulted ceiling painting measuring 900 × 600 cm for its medieval castle, which opened last year as an international contemporary art centre. The artist produced Empyrius in her nearby studio before it was mounted in situ as a permanent installation. The opening will be the occasion of the unveiling of a permanent room dedicated to the artist's work in recognition of her involvement in the artistic life of the region.
In 2000, Madden returned to live and work in Dublin. She is a member of Aosdána. In 2005 she was conferred with LL.D., h.c., University College, Dublin, 1988. Her husband Louis died on 25 April 2012.
- Artists le Brocquy dies at his home The Examiner, 2012-04-25.