Joaquim Tenreiro (1906-1992) was born in Portugal into a family of woodworkers, and immigrated to Brazil in the late 1920’s. Shortly upon arriving Tenreiro starts to work at design firm Laubisch Hirth, and in the early 1940’s establishes his own design ateliers in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Developing a distinct style that combined European modernist vernacular with Brazilian materials, such as Jacaranda wood and caning (forgotten materials which he brought back into vogue), Tenreiro ‘s pieces have become synonymous to the classic sophistication of, and arguably founding, mid-Century Brazilian Modernist design.
With a dynamic attention to the curves, textures and volume that solid woods provide, Tenreiro was a true virtuoso who also dedicated his prolific practice to other disciplines outside furniture design. Paintings and drawings emerge as early as in the 1940’s, as his intricate wooden wall reliefs from the 1970’s are emblematic of his progression as a woodworker.
Presently on view at ESPASSO NY, and available for purchase, are graceful original examples of Tenreiro’s oeuvre, such as his seminal 1942 Leve armchair, the Curved Back armchair from 1960, the Curved High Back dining chair from 1949, and his famous 1947 Rocking Chair, among other Tenreiro modern classics.