Locked Paris Apartment Rediscovered

A Paris apartment 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.

One of the gems discovered in the appartment was a  1898 portrait of the owner’s grandmother, actress and demi-mondaine Marthe de Florian, painted by the fashionable portraitist Giovanni Boldini. Never before seen publicly, the painting was Boldini’s gift to Marthe, who was at one point his lover. Boldini was well-known for his flattering portraits of rich, famous and royal women in sumptuous gowns. This particular painting sold at auction for about $2.9 million.

Looking through the apartment you can also spot a Belle Epoque interior showcasing the feminine elegance of 18th-century France, but with eclectic 19th- and 20th-century touches, like Persian rugs, paintings and mirrors galore, a  taxidermied ostrich and an old Mickey Mouse. The walls, covered with damask and pink floral wallpaper, are quietly luxe backdrops 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?

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