A Captivating Journey into the Past: The Untouched Parisian Apartment

Welcome to a captivating journey into the past, where an exquisite Parisian apartment, frozen in time and covered in dust, reveals turn-of-the-century wonders. This untouched abode, locked away for over seven decades, came to light three years ago after the passing of its 91-year-old owner, Mrs. De Florian.

As World War II broke out, Mrs. De Florian fled to the south of France and never returned to her residence in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. For over 70 years, the apartment remained untouched, holding secrets that were waiting to be unveiled. Nestled near a church, between the infamous Pigalle red light district and the Opera, this hidden gem captured the imaginations of many.

Unveiling the Secrets

A team of experts embarked on an incredible journey, cataloging the possessions that adorned this remarkable time capsule. Among the treasures, a painting by the 19th-century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini stood out. Stepping into the apartment felt like stumbling upon Sleeping Beauty’s castle, where time had seemingly stopped in the year 1900. The air carried the scent of old dust, setting the stage for an extraordinary discovery.

A Mesmerizing Portrait

Expert Olivier Choppin-Janvry was taken aback when he encountered a mesmerizing tableau featuring a woman in a pink muslin evening dress. The painting turned out to be a creation of Boldini, depicting Marthe de Florian, a stunning French actress and socialite of the Belle Époque. Not only was she Boldini’s muse, but she was also the grandmother of the apartment’s owner.

Marthe de Florian, the captivating actress, had kept love letters from numerous ardent admirers, neatly tied with ribbons, which were discovered alongside the painting. Among her suitors were the 72nd prime minister of France, George Clemenceau, and Giovanni Boldini himself.

Uncovering the Mystery

Initially, the expert had suspected the painting to be Boldini’s, but the lack of any record posed a challenge. The breakthrough came when a visiting card with a love note from Boldini was uncovered, establishing the connection. The painting, created in 1898 when Miss de Florian was 24, became the centerpiece of an extraordinary auction.

With a starting price of £253,000, the bidding frenzy ensued, attracting ten eager participants. In the end, the historic work fetched an astounding £1.78 million, setting a world record for the artist.

Describing the moment, art specialist Marc Ottavi remarked, “It was a magical moment. One could see that the buyer loved the painting; he paid the price of passion.” This Parisian time capsule not only unveiled a breathtaking masterpiece but also provided a rare glimpse into a bygone era, captivating art enthusiasts and collectors worldwide.


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