This is the sort of story that gives me goose bumps.
A few years ago, antiquity experts discovered a Parisian apartment left totally untouched for more than 70 years. On the Right Bank, near the Opéra Garnier, in the 9th arrondissement the stunning home had been unoccupied since 1942.
The mild temperatures and a thin layer of dust worked in historys favour and preserved everything – everything – in wonderfully, perfect detail.
It was an interiors time capsule.
The owner of the apartment, Mrs. De Florian was a Parisian socialite. She moved to the South of France just before World War II broke out in Europe and never, ever returned to Paris. She simply closed the shutters and locked the front door and left.
Mrs. De Florian paid rent on the apartment for the next seven decades before she died at the age of 91.
One of the experts that worked on the discovery said it was like stumbling into the castle of Sleeping Beauty where time had stood still since 1900.
The house was a cave of treasures with soaring wooden ceilings filled with mirrors, porcelain, art and a dressing table full of brushes and perfume bottles.
The stuffed ostrich was typical of the period and the Mickey Mouse soft toy (below) pre dates the war.
This is where the story gets even more fabulous.
A painting of a beautiful woman in a pink gown was also discovered in the apartment.
The team suspected the painting was the work of Giovanni Boldini, one of Paris’ most important painters of the Belle Époque period. They found stacks of love letters tied with ribbon which confirmed that it was a work of the great artist.
The woman in the painting was Mrs. de Florian’s grand-mother, Marthe de Florian who was Boldini’s muse and lover.
What I find so intriguing about this tale is not so much the painting and the treasures but what the apartment doesn’t tell us.
Ms De Florain’s secret holds so many unanswered questions: Why did she never return to Paris? What kept her away? Why did she keep the apartment and not sell it? What did her grandmother tell her of the love affair with Boldini? Why did she conceal the painting for all those years?
Why? Why? Why?
via The Telegraph,