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James Mont Furniture

American, Turkish, 1904-1978

James Mont’s life as an unmistakably talented furniture designer and interior decorator could fill the pages of a best-selling novel or be reimagined as a Hollywood feature film. From the 1930s through the 1960s, Tinseltown’s glitterati and Manhattan’s Mafia underworld coveted his sofas, coffee tables and table lamps.

Mont was born Demetrios Pecintoglu in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1904 to a family of artists. He reportedly studied architecture and art in Spain and France, and during the 1920s, Mont immigrated with his family to the United States.

Mont and his family settled in New York, where he found work in a Brooklyn electrical supply shop. There he sold hardware and designed his own lighting fixtures. The latter caught the eye of a gangster named Frankie Yale, who commissioned him to refurnish his house. Mont’s opulent designs drew on Art Deco, Hollywood Regency and were occasionally marked by chinoiserie, then a very popular trend in decorating. He created the kind of low-profile side tables and sofas that are frequently associated with mid-century modernism, and he is credited today with helping popularize the integration of Asian influences in modern American design.

Mont soon attracted New York City’s most infamous crime bosses, including Charles “Lucky” Luciano and Frank Costello. For a range of mobsters, he created fashionable, functional and sophisticated pieces such as collapsible home bars that would fold down and out of view — a particularly convenient feature during Prohibition — and tables and desks with secret drawers, which were also handy to Mont’s shady clientele.

“You bought a bar from him, and he would also deliver booze in a baby carriage,” antiques dealer and furniture retailer Todd Merrill told New York about Mont in 2008.

Mont designed a room for the World’s Fair in 1939 and later befriended Hollywood celebrities such as Bob Hope, who was best man at his wedding, Irving Berlin and Lana Turner. During the 1940s and ‘50s, Mont continued designing furniture, mastering finishing techniques such as lacquering and incorporating a distinctive “leafing” print effect with silver and gold into his pieces.

Mont’s designs enjoyed a resurgence in the 1990s, and his pieces continue to be sought after by collectors.

On 1stDibs, discover a range of vintage James Mont sideboards, tables and storage cabinets.

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Creator: James Mont
Dealer: BG Galleries
James Mont Design, Signed, Pencil Reed Trapezoidal Cabinet
By James Mont
Located in Hanover, MA
James Mont Design, signed, trapezoidal single door cabinet in pencil reed, suitable as nightstand or side cabinet. Circa 1948. Measures 24" H x 24"...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage James Mont Furniture

Materials

Reed

Pair of James Mont Wall Brackets
By James Mont
Located in Hanover, MA
Pair of stylized Asian modernist triangular wall mounted brackets in black lacquer and gold leaf by James Mont Designs. Demilune display ledge is ...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage James Mont Furniture

Materials

Wood, Lacquer

James Mont Cinnabar Lacquered Wall Bracket
By James Mont
Located in Hanover, MA
James Mont Design cinnabar lacquered wall bracket, removed from a private residence designed by James Mont at 370 East 76th Street, New York, NY circa...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage James Mont Furniture

Materials

Giltwood

Signed James Mont Design Pagoda Cocktail Cabinet
By James Mont
Located in Hanover, MA
Signed "James Mont Design" 1950's 'Chinese Modern' pagoda-form black lacquer bar cabinet with red lacquer interior and 'speakeasy' discrete swivel c...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage James Mont Furniture

Materials

Wood

James Mont Dark Tinted Mirror in Cinnabar Lacquer Frame
By James Mont
Located in Hanover, MA
Oversize James Mont cinnabar flame lacquer finish framed wall mirror 66" H x 60" W x 2" D. The mirrored glass itself is tinted quite dark. Provenance: from a private residence desi...
Category

1950s American Hollywood Regency Vintage James Mont Furniture

Materials

Mirror, Wood

James Mont Designs Asian Giltwood Panel
By James Mont
Located in Hanover, MA
James Mont Asian mid-century modern carved giltwood fretwork wall panel with central circular stylized Orientalist carving with bamboo leaves and lotus trees, hand rubbed gold and silver leaf. 43" H x 45" W. Provenance: Removed from a private residence decorated by James Mont at 370 East 76th Street, New York, NY. James Mont frequently used such panels in his furniture and interior designs such as these lacquered console cabinets...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage James Mont Furniture

Materials

Giltwood

James Mont Cerused King Size Bed Headboard with Integrated Nightstands
By James Mont
Located in Hanover, MA
Original signed James Mont Designs upholstered king size headboard with integrated nightstands and two-piece platform bed frame o...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage James Mont Furniture

Materials

Giltwood, Oak

James Mont Console Cabinet
By James Mont
Located in Hanover, MA
Grand scale console cabinet in hand rubbed black lacquer finish by James Mont (1904-1978), the "godfather of exotic modernism" who introduced "orientalism" into American 20th century...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage James Mont Furniture

James Mont Cinnabar Lacquered Secretaire
By James Mont
Located in Hanover, MA
Extremely rare, possibly one of a kind, secretary cabinet with bookcase by the godfather of exotic modernism, James Mont, circa 1950. Hand rubbed cinnabar lacquered...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage James Mont Furniture

James Mont Console Cabinet
By James Mont
Located in Hanover, MA
Blonde polished lacquer console cabinet by James Mont (1904-1978), the father of "exotic modernism" who introduced "orientalism" into America...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage James Mont Furniture

Materials

Wood

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Pair of Blue Velvet Wall Shelves or Brackets
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James Mont furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

James Mont furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of wood and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of James Mont furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by James Mont were created in the mid-century modern style in north america during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Gerald Thurston, The Marbro Lamp Company, and Robert Sonneman.

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