Born in Saint-Denis, France on 9 May 1883, Pierre-Paul Montagnac was equally talented as a fine artist and a decorative artist. He was educated in both disciplines, studying with Eugene Carriére as well as at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiére, both in Paris.
His inaugural exhibition was at the 1912 Salons – and at the 1920 Salon d’Automne he received a traveling scholarship. In 1918 he began working in the firm of André Mare and from 1922 collaborated with Maurice Dufrene at La Maîtrise, the famous design studio of Galeries Lafayette. From 1921 he exhibited at the Salons of la Société des Artistes Décorateurs, Salon des Architectes Modernes,
and internationally, in Barcelona and Leipzig. He designed suites on the grand French oceanliners, l’Atlantique, Normandie and Pasteur.
At the 1925 Paris International Exposition his work was in a standout class. At the 1937 Exhibition he organized the pavillion of the Artistes Decorateurs and personally won a Grand Prix. For the New York Exhibition in 1938, he was a member of the international jury, organized the group of Decorators, and, as architect, organized the exhibitions of jewelry and perfumes.
He became a member of the Society of Modern Architects and executed important and numerous architecture and decorating projects including the luxury apartments on the great French oceanliners l’Atlantique, Pasteur, and Normandie.
Vice President and then President of the Societe des Artistes Decorateurs from 1930 to 1938, he was also President of the Salon d’Automne and Vice President of the Committee of the Exhibition of Arts and Embellishments of Life; member of the steering committee of C.T.I. and Artistic Property, member of the Board of Directors of the Central Union of Decorative Arts. He was also an Officer of the Legion of Honor and received the Cross of War.
MONTAGNAC was the son of an engineer and he had a taste for geometry
and science that predisposed him to the rigors of architectural laws.
Multi-talented, he worked independently as a painter – who had
paintings acquired by the French government – while also working in
the related fields of architecture and decoration. His work included
homes, apartments, galleries, luxury shops, banks and the aforesaid
As a designer/decorater, Montagnac had the taste for quality, luxurious
furniture, using precious woods, bronze extensions, ivory inlays, mother-of-pearl,
metal and coral. He advocated for a resolutely modern style and, free of all
pastiches, focused on beautiful cabinetry, the challenges of furniture design,
particularly from 1940 to 1945, captured all his attention.
The tireless activity of Montagnac, whose varied works are represented in
official museums and residences, was also recognized from a professional
and social point of view. He was a remarkable organizer, devoted to the
cause of art, to the defense of the trade and his colleagues. It was Montagnac
who, in 1939, with Anatole de Monzie, took the initiative to found the
ENTRAIDE to Artists (which provides support to talented young French artists).
MOBILIER ET DECORATION, September/October 1953