Paris, 1939, Twenty-three-year-old Madame de Florian was forced to abandon her apartment and flee France. World War II had begun, and no doubt, Madame de Florian had gotten word that German soldiers were nearing Paris.
In an attempt to keep out of harm's way, she locked the door to her apartment and escaped with other Parisians.
Safety and security awaited Madame de Florian to the south in the free zone.
She was never able to return to her apartment. But, she did continue paying the rent for her entire life. Then, in 2010, Madame de Florian passed away. She was ninety-one years old.
After her passing, her relatives and heirs found out about the Paris apartment. They hired an auctioneer named Olivier Choppin-Janvry to take an inventory of any significant or valuable belongings that might be in the abandoned apartment.
When they opened up the door, the auctioneer as well as his entire team were speechless. The apartment was a flawless snapshot of the age before World War II.
And most importantly, there were extremely valuable treasures hidden inside of the apartment. The dining area was fully stocked, complete with dishes and glassware. The artwork had been taken down from the walls as if they were to be transported, but the owner had run out of time.
The vanity table sat there, looking as if it were awaiting the return of its owner. Brushes, makeup, and perfume bottles were strewn across the surface.
And in a corner of the room, were an original Micky Mouse and Porky Pig doll. The toys were reflective of the period before World War II.
But, perhaps the most intriguing find was a painting of a beautiful woman wearing a pink gown. Upon further examination, the woman would be revealed as Marthe de Florian, grandmother of Madame De Florian.
The artist wasn't recognized initially, but a discovery which happened later helped the researchers surmise that the painting was done by an Italian painter from the Belle Epoque period, named Giovanni Boldini.
Marthe de Florian was an extremely well-known actress in Paris who lived an extravagant lifestyle. Found inside the apartment were a collection of love letters, from many famous suitors, which included several Prime Ministers and Presidents of Rance.
And though Marthe was a subject of Giovanni's paintings, further evidence showed that the two were indeed lovers.
The portrait of Marthe was finished in the year 1888 when she was only twenty-four-years old. In 2010, after the painting was found in the abandoned apartment, it was sold for an amazing $3.4 million dollars. It would turn out to be the most valuable of any of Giovanni's works of art.
Take a look at the video below to see more about the apartment:
What an absolutely stunning and remarkable find!
You can only imagine what the auctioneer was thinking as he stood in the doorway looking in!
What do you think about this amazing historical find?
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