Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Paris Apartment of Antiquarian Akko van Acker

Bavarian painted terra-cotta and carved wood deer heads
decorate an alcove in the Dining Room of the Paris apartment of
 Akko van Acker.  An 18th-century painted wall covering
provides a beautiful background for an Italian console
with a vase painted in the style of Imari, terra-cotta mandarin
figures and 18th century English treen.  The painted wood
mountain goats are also Bavarian.
Speaking with a John Tackett Design client over the phone this morning from her second home in the south of France about shopping for a few antiques that were needed for her new home here in the States, I was reminded of the wonderful dealers in Paris who provide the most personable continental furnishings.  One of the antiquarians at the top of the list is Akko van Acker who had a shop on the rue du l'Université (perhaps now closed?).   
The 18th century Italian faux-marbre door is one of a pair
owned by Akko van Acker before he had the apartment.
Photo by Marina Faust for Architectural Digest.
Dutch-born van Acker's Right Bank pied-à-terre, decorated with the help of designer Ricardo Wilhelmsen and the Paris-based firm Interiors, was memorably featured in the March, 1992, issue of Architectural Digest.  The 18th century doors from an Italian palazzo inspired an Italian theme for the shell of the apartment which was gutted and completely rebuilt with all new interior partitions, moldings, and other architectural details.

18th century books are arranged on and around a games
table with an open top in the Living Room.
Photo by Marina Faust for Architectural Digest.
The walls in the Living Room are a burnished gold Venetian plaster and the floor is Italian terra-cotta tile.  When a wall was removed to enlarge the Living Room, it was determined that a beam and supports would be required for structural needs;  the solution was classical columns that separate the two areas of the room.

A sitting area of the Living Room
with a glimpse into the Dining Room beyond.
Photo by Marina Faust for Architectural Digest.
Characteristic of the interesting mix, a pair of circa 1830 English chinoiserie snowscapes are placed between pilasters above a tabletop arrangement with a rare bronze Pekingese flanked by a pair of 18th century Japanese Ho-Ho figures.  An antique wood armature model sits in one of a pair of 19th century Italian cane-back chairs with carved frames in simulation of rope.

A view of the Living Room showing parts of the
two areas separated by columns.
Photo by Marina Faust for Architectural Digest.
A painted Bavarian console displays a collection of porphyry obelisks and tazzas flanked by a pair of Venetian jars with lids, overlooked by a portrait of a West Indian governor.  The sofa table displays a flock of late-18th century carved and painted wood parrots.

The sitting area in front of the fireplace
in the Living Room.
Photo by Marina Faust for Architectural Digest.
The faux-marbre painted chimneypiece dates from 18th century Florence.  A late-18th century Dutch page's chair is placed nearby with an antique japanned cabinet adjacent, along with a large 18th century Italian 18th century terra-cotta vase painted in the Chinese Imari style.  A Giacometti bronze and glass low table sits on an antique Persian rug.

Painted boiserie was added to the Dining Room.
Photo by Marina Faust for Architectural Digest.
In the Dining Room, the casement window is flanked by a pair of Venetian wall brackets, each supporting a Burmese carved wood deer.  Painted marquises with their original tapestry are placed on angles in the corners.  The Waterford chandelier dates from the 18th century, as do the Dutch chairs around the table.

Silk fabric in a wood grain pattern is used to great effect
in the Master Bedroom.
Photo by Marina Faust for Architectural Digest.
The 18th century English cabinet in the Master Bedroom was bought from David Hicks, from the collection of Lady Mountbatten at Wardour Castle.  A circa 1570s Dutch painting hangs from a rod display system above a Dutch side chair.  A 17th century Dutch marine painting hangs over the bed with classical fragments of feet on a wicker bedside chest and a brass-lined peat bucket serving as a trash can.

Antiques dealer Akko van Acker.
Photo by Marina Faust for Architectural Digest.
In the article by Judith Thurman, it states that his first shop was opened in St.-Tropez in 1967 with the Paris shop following in 1975.  Clients have included Rudolph Nureyev, Yves Saint Laurent, and Ralph Lauren.  A few months of the year are spent at his villa in the south of France, in the charming village of Ramatuelle, the article goes on to say, and most of his entertaining is done there. 


  1. Oh, MERCI!I'm ready to move in!

    1. L.C., some have thought it a bit crowded, but - for an antiques dealer - I don't think so.

  2. A detail I particularly like is the spotlighting above the deers in the dining room. So minor, and yet a terrific impact. (Of course it all requires careful planning at the beginning of a refurb, and the need to curb one's acquisitive tendencies; In my next refurbishment I will have to be much more specific about the placement of picture lights etc, because installing them later is such a bore.

    1. while I, personally, am more likely to forego ceiling spotlights, these around the perimeter are less obtrusive and not so commercial looking. Thanks for 'pin-pointing' this feature.

  3. Thanks to the devoted reader who sent the message that there is an Akko van Acker, born in 1942, in Addison, Texas. Addison is a community along the North Dallas Toll Road that has been absorbed into the Greater Dallas Metroplex, so that is not as far-fetched as one might first think.

    Someone in Dallas had once told me of a Dutch antiques dealer that had the most fabulous inventory before closing shop and leaving on a sailing yacht to circumnavigate the globe. I am just trying to remember who was his friend and if it the same person. Maybe we'll hear back.

  4. It's never too crowded when everything is so ravishingly beautiful--nor are there any
    false decorator-y touches. Very impressive. I would kill for that Italian console in
    the first image--it's what belongs beneath the Thomas Hudson portrait of a lady
    in my drawing room, wouldn't you say? ( Or is that putting too many eggs into the
    rococo custard? )

  5. Toby, there is no danger of the custard being too rich in my estimation. You take the console and I'll take the fragment of wallcovering and the wood deer heads. (Another has already called dibs on the porphyry. I appreciate your commenting.


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