A Parisian apartment left untouched for over 70 years was discovered in the quartier of Pigalle a few summers ago and I’ve been meaning to share the pictures with you. Time to unlock the vault …
The owner of this apartment, Mrs. De Florian left Paris just before the rumblings of World War II broke out in Europe. She closed up her shutters and left for the South of France, never to return to the city again. Seven decades later she passed away at the age of 91. It was only when her heirs enlisted professionals to make an inventory of the Parisian apartment she left behind, that this time capsule was finally unlocked.
The team that had the honor of opening what must have been a very stiff old lock for the first time in 70 years, likened the experience to ‘stumbling into the castle of sleeping beauty’. The smell of dust, the cobwebs, the silence, was overwhelming; a once in a lifetime experience.
There is a further twist to the story. In the apartment a painting of familiar style was discovered of a beautiful woman in pink. One of the inventory team members suspected this might be a very important piece of treasure. Along with the painting, they also found stacks of old love letters tied with colored ribbon.
With some expert historical opinion, the ribbon-bound love letters were quickly recognized as the calling card of none other than Giovanni Boldini, one of Paris’ most important painters of the Belle Époque. The painting was his. The beautiful woman pictured in the painting was Mrs. de Florian’s grand-mother, Marthe de Florian, a beautiful French actress and socialite of the Belle Époque. She was Boldini’s muse. And, despite him being a married man, she was also his lover. The art world went a bit nutty for the whole story and the painting was later sold for $3 million at auction.
AAAGH Holy shit, I love Boldini’s artwork too. This is amazing.
I had sampled in disgust the vapidities of roses,
Heliotropes, lilies, violets, poppies.
These were the dark flowers that one waters with tears.
These were the flowers of mourning that I’d gathered back then.
Slashed leaves of whitening Absinthe,
Umbels of Hemlock in the shadows of old walls,
Tongues of Henbane with sword-shaped filaments,
Apples of mandrake, stars of the dark places,
Night Hellebore that reddens the hills,
Aconites of gold, green golds, yellow golds, vermilion golds,
Datura, its fruit armed with javelins
Cradling in its hollow orb a nest of heavy slumbers,
White petals tipped with black points, Belladonna,
Flowers of mourning, flowers of death, embalming poisons,
You formed the bouquet with which I garlanded my Madonna,
You that satiate the heart and murder reason.
I had hoped to subjugate her when she seemed to be dying,
Thus had I hoped that she not be yet more jealous of you.
But the Madonna was stronger than even your poisons.
She laughed, showing her teeth as wolves would do;
She drowned her face at the bottom of your calices,
Drank in deep breaths your overflowing death,
And her mouth so pink, with biting delights,
Was pinker still when she bit into you.
Jean Richepin, Caresses, 1882.
[Traduction Anglaise: Raymond E. André III, 2010]
[This English translation dedicated to Mlle. Mel Nerell]
It rhymes in the original French, but I’m assuming that everyone reading this is just as uncultured and foreign-language illiterate as I am.
Very proud of my magazine cover for fashion history, Might ask Anna Wintour for a job
Um, clearly Baroque is SUPER TASTY. And Madame de Pompadour with a flower right where those mammaries are…very subtle, you sexpot. (Rococo is the best.)
Hetalia was far from the first cute anthropomorphising of nations…here we have gallant little Britan protecting poor vulnerable France from a plump cheeked and adorable Germany.
Don’t know where to begin with this one…I can’t get past France as a clingy, weeping little girl being protected by a little Tommy. I can just imagine how delighted the French were at way they were personified here…suspect this one was not exactly for a Gaulish audience. It was sent in 1914, but by one of my friend’s Norwegian ancestors so I can’t make out the message on the back, which is a pity.
Britain: the Cockblock of Europe.
Jean Lafitte(1776-1823), French privateer. Lafitte was originally a smuggler, but he soon realized his bamfitude could not be contained by such a modest profession and turned to privateering with his brother Pierre. He was something of an honorable pirate, and often gave the ships he captured back to their original owners after taking their cargo. The governor of Louisiana became determined to halt Lafitte’s smuggling and offered a $500 dollar reward for capturing Lafitte. Two days later, notices were posted around New Orleans in Lafitte’s name offering a comparable reward for the arrest of the governor.
He wasn’t much to look at (hey there, superficiality!), but that $500 notice for the governor is priceless. <3
Émile Nelligan, cutie patootie who is considered one of the greatest French Canadian poet. His poems where first published in Montréal when he was only 16, and knew a immense success. Sadly at age 20 he suffered from an unknown mental disorder and lived the last years of his life in a psychiatric hospital.
Damn. I am such a sucker for mentally disturbed and handsome young poets.
Yes, I’m unearthing old stuff, but I can’t help it if it’s still divine stuff.
Remember Bernard-Henri Levy’s (oh, that tiger of French philosophy) stirring defense of DSK and his angry screed against the American justice system that treats him like just another person?
Iowahawk fixes his rant up to clarify his message a bit.
Enough is enough, I say. I will not stand idly by as the uncultured puritanical prudes of Les Etats-Unis and their mad inspector Javerts hound another hero of the French nation — as they did Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Ira Einhorn, and Theodore Bundy — for the mere sin of intellectual virility, and listening to the “oui” in a woman’s eyes instead of the “non” in her screams of ecstasy.
J’Accuse America - with your filthy cheeseburgers, and your stupid tailfins, and your unnuanced medieval notions of “rape.” Until, and unless, my friend Dominique Strauss-Kahn is freed from his political bondage, I refuse to provide you another paragraph of philosophy.
There’s so much more good stuff. Do read it in full.
Not WWI, but more History Facebook!
Mean Girls quotes work with EVERYTHING. No exceptions.
“That’s why his moustache is so big: it’s full of secrets!”