Category Archive 'WWII Apartment'

14 May 2013

Preserved in Amber

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Boldini painting of grande horizontale subsequently sold at auction for £1.78 million

The Daily Mail describes a Belle Époque Parisian apartment, locked up at the time of the WWII German advance on the French capital which has remained unopened for over 70 years.

Inside the Paris apartment untouched for 70 years: Treasure trove finally revealed after owner locked up and fled at outbreak of WWII.

Caked in dust and full of turn-of-the century treasures, this Paris apartment is like going back in time.

Having lain untouched for seven decades the abandoned home was discovered three years ago after its owner died aged 91.

The woman who owned the flat, a Mrs De Florian, had fled for the south of France before the outbreak of the Second World War.

She never returned and in the 70 years since, it looks like no-one had set foot inside.

The property was found near a church in the French capital’s 9th arrondissement, between Pigalle red light district and Opera.

Experts were tasked with drawing up an inventory of her possessions which included a painting by the 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini.

One expert said it was like stumbling into the castle of Sleeping Beauty, where time had stood still since 1900. ‘There was a smell of old dust,’ said Olivier Choppin-Janvry, who made the discovery.

But he said his heart missed a beat when he caught sight of a stunning tableau of a woman in a pink muslin evening dress.

The painting was by Boldini and the subject a beautiful Frenchwoman who turned out to be the artist’s former muse and Mrs de Florian’s grandmother, Marthe de Florian, a beautiful French actress and socialite of the Belle Époque.


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