Born in 1893 in Fécamp, where her father was a solicitor, Madeleine Fessard died in Paris in 1995, having led an unassuming life entirely devoted to sculpture.
Encouraged by her father, she entered the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1917. She was, however, totally unlike the 1930s bohemian artist of the “Montparno”.
A landowner in Normandy, she was wealthy. To her friends, several of whom fought hard to live off their art, she, the one who did not need to sell her art, was almost a dilettante. She worked hard, however, but remained discreet and never sought the chance to exhibit or sell; it was as though sculpture was something intimate for her.
This modesty would be confirmed by her will: although she left several old paintings to the museums in Rouen and Fécamp, she gave none of her own works - these would be sold at public auction and the profits given to charity. In 2001, her descendents offered one of her major works to the Musée de Fécamp in her memory: La dame à la biche [Lady with hind], presented at the 1930 Salon.