“At its best, Mont’s work was synonymous with Hollywood glamour, captured in sumptuous materials and luxurious patently expensive finishes” (Maneker, 163). Born Demetrios Pecintoglu in Istanbul, he settled in Brooklyn in 1922 with his family, where he opened an electrical supply shop. Colorful commentaries credit his success to an affluent and connected mobster clientele and in 1932 Mont established his first design business on Fifth Avenue. There he created an array of home furnishings, including his famous “hidden” bars—key during the Prohibition years—notably his patented decorative service bar (1937) and collapsible fold-up bar (as late as 1953). Throughout his career Mont experimented with creative uses of space and furniture, seen for instance in his murphy and sofa beds. His style in general, however, exhibited opulence, drama, and exquisite craftsmanship—an appropriate pairing to his theatrical and often scandal-ridden lifestyle. A typical Mont interior was filled with large and mainly comfortable pieces and plush surface textures, including distressed, wormy, and limed woods, layers of silver and gold leaf, and deep lacquers. An Oriental flavor, known by some as “Chinese modern,” came to characterize his later work. These creations largely took form at Moderne Modes, Mont and Karl Gephardt’s five-story design atelier and showroom on 214-216 East 52 Street.
Reference: Roberta Maneker, “James Mont,” in Todd Merrill and Julie Iovine, eds., Modern Americana: Studio Furniture from High Craft to High Glam (New York: Rizzoli, 2008), 162-173.