In 1939 a young woman locked the door to her Paris apartment for the last time ever and fled the city of light. Word War II had begun and with the German defensive nearing the city she knew she’d be much safer in the south of France. She was 23 years old when she left the apartment her grandmother had bequeathed her, and over the next 70 years, she never returned. Her name was Madame de Florian and year after year, up until the age of 91, she dutifully paid the rent and upkeep on the apartment.
Upon her death in 2010, it was transferred and given to her family, who hired an auctioneer to go through and inventory its contents. Oliver Choppin-Janvry was the man who first stepped into the long-ago forgotten apartment and he was immediately blown away by the sight that lay before him. Everything was covered in a thick layer of dust and yet it appeared as though Madame de Florian had only been gone for just a moment. There was an assortment of makeup, brushes, and perfume bottles laying in a dressing table, candle stubs were scattered about, and glassware and books lined shelves. The artwork had been taken down off the walls and sat propped up against furniture, one of the inventory experts described it as “stumbling into the castle of Sleeping Beauty.” True in a sense, but it was more like stepping into early 1900s Paris, a glamorous and exciting place.
Among all of the treasures lay the most valuable and exciting discovery of all, a painting of a woman in a luxurious pink gown. The woman turned out to be Marthe de Florian, the owner Madam de Florian’s grandmother. She had been a well known actress in Paris who lived lavishly and had many lovers. The man who had painted her portrait was one of them, an Italian artist by the name of Giovanni Boldini. The painting had never been displayed before and no record of it existed but researchers had a hunch that it was done by him. They only discovered that to be true when they found a love note from him in the apartment, which also showed her to be his muse. The painting was put up for auction and sold for $3.4 million dollars, a record for a Boldini work.
Take a peek inside the amazing apartment and check out the video. See for yourself all of the little details and the unbelievable shape it’s in after being forgotten for 70 years! It’s so cool
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