Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Considered one of the pioneers of modernist Brazilian furniture making, Joaquim Tenreiro (1906-1992) was born into a family of woodworkers and carpenters in Portugal, immigrated to Rio de Janeiro and in the 1920s began working for the firm of Laubissh & Hirth. . In the early 1940s, Tenreiro was among the first designers in the Brazilian furniture industry to adopt a European modernist vernacular. His initial efforts, including the 1942 "Poltrona Leve," met with considerable success, and in 1943 he established his own firm with factories in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. However, it was not until the 1950s that he began to be recognized as a master furniture designer in Brazil. One of his main clients was Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, for whose houses a number of pieces were originally commissioned.Tenreiro’s exquisitely crafted pieces evoke a refined coexistence of traditional values and modern aesthetics, strongly bound to the Brazilian cultural milieu. In spite of his success and his professional recognition, Tenreiro closed his furniture studio in 1967 and decided to devote himself exclusively to fine arts, taking up painting and sculpture once again , a path that he had discontinued long before. During the next following decades until his death in 1992, his works were included in many art and design exhibitions held at renowned galleries and museums in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. A forerunner in the truest sense of the word, the "father" of modern furniture in Brazil left behind an unrivaled aesthetic legacy. His designs are sold at fine galleries and auction houses, in particular, R20th Century and Espasso.

related links:

Three-legged chair of imbuia, roxinho, jacaranda, ivorywood and cabreúva c1954 (top)
Jacaranda and reverse-painted glass bookshelf c1954 (2nd)
Jacaranda/red laminate credenza c1948 (3rd)
Sleepwalker’s armchair c1950s (4th)
Jacaranda with green under painted glass cocktail table c1960s (bottom)

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