Saturday, February 8, 2014

An Apartment in Paris

Marthe de Florian (1898), by Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931). Image Source: The Meta Picture.
From Histories of Things to Come:
In 1942, a French socialite, Madame de Florian, fled her apartment on Paris's Right Bank near the Opéra Garnier. She paid rent on it until her death in 2010, but never returned (hat tip: The Meta Picture). The apartment has sat, sealed and untouched, with nothing moved since the Second World War, gathering dust.

After 2010, the estate opened the apartment and began selling the contents. They included the portrait (above) of the apartment's absent tenant's grandmother. It was painted by Italian portrait painter Giovanni Boldini, and recently sold at auction for €2.1 million. (Read more.)


The North Coast said...

I read about the discovery of this beautiful old apartment and its interesting occupants a while back. I would have loved to be able to inhabit that place just as it was for a couple of days, just to experience another time for a little while.

I'd also like to to have been able to buy that fantastic Second Empire vanity.

We can only guess at why the 2nd Mme. de Florian closed this apartment and kept it intact and unoccupied for 70 years. We will never know now, but it's as if she was trying to forever preserve a moment in time, like a prehistoric insect caught in amber, sensing that the way of life and its aesthetic was about to be swept away forever. Or, perhaps, it was her way of keeping her late grandmother alive, in a sense. My sister and I felt an urge to do the same thing with my mother's house when she passed, and breaking the place up was a tearful event.

elena maria vidal said...

They must have had wonderful times there, before the war.