Born in may 1913, Albert Achdjian escaped from Turkey with his mother as a child and emigrated to France with the Armenian genocide. Albert Achdjian has been sent near Hagop Kapoudjian, the greatest master of restoration of antique rugs. At 18 years old, circa 1932, Albert Achdjian was sent to restore Calouste Gulbenkian’s classical carpets in his Hotel particulier, avenue d’Iéna. Mr. Gulbenkian, controlling the process of the restoration used to talk to him. Mr 5 % suggested to Albert Achdjian to create an Armenian Museum in Paris. During the World War II, Albert Achdjian has been a volunteer. See reference on war prisoner from the German archives. Back, from the Second World War, he married with Christine-Adelaide Bedjidian.
He started a career of restorer and dealer of Antique Oriental Art and specialized in textiles. Probably the most knowledegeable dealer of his generation in Paris, he was successful and he was able to be at the contact of the elite of French Ministers and President. In that time, the fact to live and to have a gallery just 100 meters far from the Elysées Palace was quite an advantage. In 1947, he founded the Armenian Museum in Paris with the support of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Culture and the help of some others Armenian collectors, as Mme Kapamadji, or Mr Gulbenkian.
Vincent Auriol, President of French Republic in activity, inaugurated the museum.
In 1949, he wrote and published the first book on Antique Rugs: “The Rug”. Sold to 10.000 copies, it was in its time a great success. Arnold Van Gennep, an important “folklorist”, wrote its foreword. Albert Achdjian organized exhibitions of Classical & Antique carpets in Den Haag Museum and others cities in Europe.
Albert Achdjian organized in the mythical Galerie Doucet, place Beauveau in Paris, the most important exhibition of Classical and Antique Oriental carpets, ever made after the Second World War.
Albert Achdjian was invited by French TV to talk about antique rugs and textiles. “Achdjian” became a requisite stop in Paris during the 1950’s and 70’s. David David-Weill, Henri Matisse, Georges Mathieu, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais, Jean -Claude Pascal, … are just a few of the distinguished collectors, private buyers. Celebrities regularly visited Albert Achdjian.
Gone for one month in 1956-1957 to Egypt, he came back over one year latter. Buying and selling important Egyptian antiques, he could stay as long as he wanted.
Back in France with a very different philosophy of life, he gave up his social life and his ambitious career. He understood that his Armenian and Oriental background was much more important that his new life in France. He wanted to re create the world of his childhood. So, he reported his energy in buying a property in La Charité sur Loire. There he built a church, an Armenian Apostolic (Lusavortchagan) church. He was studying Armenian Art, Armenian music, Armenian history. He was looking for his roots and Constantinopolis, Ani, Hetoum 1st, all Armenian ancesters were his surrounding subjects.
He opened an Art Gallery. In 1960, He organized the first exhibition of Erro, a today important a recognized painter.
During these years, he built an Armenian church in memory of his father Boghos Achdjian and of all the Armenians who died during the Armenian genocide. He was probably the first Armenian to install a marble plaque with an inscription saying that 1.200.000 Armenians has been genocided.
To celebrate the religious consecration of the church Sourp Boghos that he built, Albert Achdjian invited around 5.000 persons. Professional dancers came from Paris to feast this event.
It is Monseigneur Manoukian who celebrate the consecration. Five thousands people were invited. Over 400 persons traveled by car and buses, from Paris to La Charité sur Loire. Albert Achdjian was re creating his Armenian land in France, and as Armenia was still communist, Armenia was mostly the Armenian Church, even if he did not beleive so much in the catechism.
From 1960 ies to September 1972, Albert Achdjian managed his company “Tapis Chirvan”. In September 1972, a robbery without being insured led Albert Achdjian to give up and he transmitted the management to his son, Berdj.