In 1939, Madame de Florian fled Paris to escape the approaching Nazis. The 23 year old locked up her apartment and headed to the southern part of the country. She never returned to her apartment.
Her family knew nothing about this apartment until after she died in 2010. The 91 year old had continued paying rent for over 70 years. When auctioneers went to the apartment, the door hadn’t been opened since 1939.
Not knowing what they would find, it must have been an exhilarating experience for them as they turned the key. There were cobwebs and dust everywhere, but what they found was a time capsule filled with treasures.
Art had been removed from the walls as if they were to be taken with de Florian, but instead were left behind in a fast escape.
Makeup and brushes still sat on her ornate vanity, just as they had in 1939. She really must have left in a hurry.
The auctioneers quickly realized the art was quite valuable. One of the pieces sent Paris in a buzz. One look at this painting and they knew it was something special.
It was a painting of her grandmother, Marthe de Florian. Marthe was a well regarded actress in the 1880s. And the painter was Giovanni Boldini, who was very well known. Despite the fact that Boldini was married, love letters in the apartment revealed the two had an affair.
The new discovery of art and the sordid affair caused a lot of interest in the painting. It fetched $3.4 million at auction, becoming the most valuable of all of Boldini’s works.
Art can sell for obscenely high amounts at auctions. Check out the video below of a Piccasso that sold at an auction for $160 million. Including fees, the final price was $179 million. You can see the video of that below.
Someone really must have wanted that painting!
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H/T: Faith Tap