Can you just imagine turning the key in the keyhole of a beautiful old building in Paris to enter an apartment that for over 70 years lay untouched. With the rent faithfully paid, the doors locked, and an incredible treasure trove hiding inside, this apartment remained a secret. That is, until the apartments last occupant recently passed away at the age of 91. She shut the apartment up just before the outbreak of World War II to go live in the south of France and she never returned. The dust filled romantic rooms of treasure were discovered by an auctioneer sent to inventory her belongings.
That is only part of the romantic story of the apartment of the granddaughter of Marthe de Florian, a beautiful actress of the early screen. When this lucky auctioneer entered the dust-covered Parisian apartment to take inventory of the possessions, he was quoted saying that he "had the impression of creeping into Sleeping Beauty’s castle where time had stood still". In the beautiful decaying apartment he came across a painting, which had hung in the living room, of an actress of exceptional beauty who went by the name of Marthe de Florian, enshrouded in a pale pink mousseline evening dress. The real story here is that this portrait was painted by one of 19-century Paris’ most prized portrait artists, Italian Giovanni Boldini.
Image via Yahoo news
The auctioneer had a hunch that this painting was made by the famous Boldini but could not find any record of the painting, it was not in any reference books and it had never been exhibited. After extensive research he found one of Boldini’s calling cards in the apartment with a love message by the painter written to de Florian. Knowing this was the link, he continued his search and found proof that this painting was indeed a Boldini after finding mention of it in a book belonging to the painters widow.
Amazing Stuffed Ostrich via Telegraph.co.uk
Marthe de Florian had hosted her many admirers in the apartment where “she kept letters from her lovers in little packages wrapped up with ribbons of different colors,” according to one of the people who worked on the inventory. The calling cards of senior statesmen from the period were found tucked away in drawers.
This week, the painting, painted in 1898 when de Florian was 24 years old, went up for auction in Paris. Ten bidders fought to own the piece, the final price came to an astonishing €2.1 million, the highest price of any Boldini piece. "It was a magic moment. One could see that the buyer loved the painting; he paid the price of passion,” art specialist Marc Ottavi was quoted by The Telegraph