In the heart of Paris, an abandoned apartment, left untouched since World War II, has recently been rediscovered, revealing intriguing historical artefacts and preserving a unique snapshot of the past.
The unoccupied dwelling, situated in Paris’s ninth arrondissement, had remained sealed for decades, preserving its original interior and belongings, providing a rare glimpse into the life of its former 91-year-old owner.
Photographs of the apartment depict a scene frozen in time, reflecting the lifestyle and decor of a bygone era. Among the items left behind, a solitary Mickey Mouse toy brings a touch of nostalgia, harkening back to simpler times.
While the owner, Mrs De Florian, never returned to her residence after the war, her continued payment of bills unknowingly maintained the property and its contents.
Furniture and personal belongings were left undisturbed, creating a time capsule that has piqued the interest of historians and art experts.
As layers of dust and grime accumulated over the years, these forgotten treasures held a valuable surprise. Among them, an exquisite painting attributed to the renowned 19th-century Italian artist, Giovanni Boldini, was found.
The painting portrays a woman in a pink muslin evening dress, believed to be Marthe de Florian, the grandmother of Mrs De Florian, who was a well-known French actress and socialite during the Belle Époque.
The discovery of the painting led to an intriguing investigation to confirm its authenticity. Art experts followed faint clues and eventually stumbled upon a visiting card with a love note from Boldini, providing strong evidence of the painting’s origin.
In addition to the artwork, a collection of love letters from ardent admirers was also found, shedding light on the romantic entanglements of Mrs. De Florian during her vibrant years.
When the painting was later auctioned, it garnered significant attention and interest from art enthusiasts. Bidding started at £253,000 and quickly escalated to an impressive final price of £1.78 million, setting a new record for Boldini’s artwork.
Olivier Choppin-Janvry, the historian leading the exploration of the apartment’s hidden treasures, described the experience as akin to stepping back in time. The apartment, with its untouched interior, offered a genuine connection to history, making it a truly remarkable find.
The discovery of this abandoned apartment has provided a unique window into the past, allowing us to better understand the life and times of its former resident, Mrs. De Florian, and offering valuable insights into the cultural and artistic nuances of the Belle Époque era.