Anne Madden was born in London to Irish parents and she spent her early years in Chile. She spent periods of her adolescence in the Burren in County Clare and became fascinated by the landscape – taking long horse rides there alone, immersing herself in its beauty which informed her early paintings. Later, in the 1950s, Anne was heavily influenced by the Abstract Expressionist movement, after going to an exhibition in London. Anne came to explore different questions of the symbolic potential of an image rather than representing nature.
Her paintings have a romantic longing. She has said that what impels her ‘is the transformative power of paint’. She is a colourist and the ‘Winged Figure’, found at City hall is a wonderful example of her use of colour. Her work tries to uncover or discover a reality beyond actuality, trying to make visible the invisible aspects of the world.
Anne’s painting is well placed as it has similar aspirations to the great dome at Dublin’s City Hall. The great dome was built in order to make the human below it feel small and aware of the possibility that there is a greater force out there. Buildings like City hall were built in the 1700s, to be uplifting in the same way churches with their grandeur and stain glass were also built to enthral.
Anne has said that many things that are in fact real are invisible such as imagination, feeling, consciousness which defines us as human. Dreams, intuition, instinct, symbols are constant themes in her work. She creates durable images that are rooted in traditional symbol and myth. Earth and air as well as gravity and grace are also characteristics of her work.
The ‘Winged Figure’ is large in scale measuring 390 x342 cm. Anne’s paintings are often large which lends them a physicality. In fact, she usually lays the canvas on the ground first before starting to paint.
Anne married another well-known Irish artist, Louis Le Broquey in the 1950s and they had two boys. After many years living in France herself and Louis returned to Ireland and worked together in a studio in Dublin and they lived in Dublin 8. Anne still lives in Dublin.
City Hall has become very popular for weddings and many-a -couple have married there with this beautiful winged figure over- looking them.