Title: Marthe de Florian in Pink Muslin Evening Dress
Year: 1898
Size: Unknown (Oil on canvas)
Location: Private Collection

In Paris, an apartment sat locked and untouched for 70 years.  When the door was unlocked for the first time in June 2010, the item that set the world abuzz was a mysterious painting of a beautiful woman in her pink muslin evening dress.

Among the items discovered were passionate love letters from powerful men, but it was the scribbled love note of Boldini that legitimised the hunch that he was the painter of this piece. The woman was Marthe de Florian, an actress of the early screen and Boldini’s muse.  No mention of this painting could be found in any record or account of Boldini’s work. And then the miraculous find – a single reference to the painting by the artist’s widow which dated the piece to 1898, when de Florian was 24.

The apartment belonged to de Florian’s granddaughter, who passed away at age 91.  The painting went to auction in October 2010 and sold for €2.1 million, the highest price for a Boldini piece.