Design Time Capsule: Rediscovered Paris Apartment

Design Time Capsule: Rediscovered Paris Apartment

Anna Hoffman
Oct 20, 2010

My romantic imagination is running away with the recent news about a Paris apartment that sat untouched for 70 years. In 1940, the apartment's owner moved to the South of France and never returned, though she continued to diligently pay to maintain the Paris home. When she died last year, the apartment was opened for the first time so auctioneers could inventory her possessions.

The big news story was that a painting hanging on the wall turned out to be an 1898 portrait of the owner's grandmother, actress and demi-mondaine Marthe de Florian, painted by the fashionable portraitist Giovanni Boldini (image 4). Never before seen publicly, the painting was Boldini's gift to Marthe, who was at one point his lover. Boldini, who apparently had quite an appetite for beautiful ladies, was well-known for his flattering portraits of rich, famous and royal women in sumptuous gowns. After the discovery of the Marthe de Florian painting, it sold at auction a couple weeks ago for about $2.9 million.

So okay, the painting was a hidden masterpiece with a romantic backstory. But check out the apartment! Through the dust and cobwebs, you can see a Belle Epoque interior, looking back to the feminine elegance of 18th-century France, but with eclectic 19th- and 20th-century touches, like Persian rugs, paintings and mirrors galore, and of course that taxidermied ostrich next to Mickey Mouse! The walls, covered with damask and pink floral wallpaper, are quietly luxe backdrops for painted Louis XV- and Louis XVI-style in the drawing room and parlor, and unpainted Renaissance- or Louis XIII-style in the dining room. And notice the etched decoration in the glass window behind the ostrich — an authentic Belle Epoque detail.

If your apartment were shuttered for 70 years, and cracked open in 2080, which of your possessions would be the most valuable?

Via: London Telegraph

Images: 1 & 3 Crabby Golightly 2 Telegraph 4 Luciole Press Blog.

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