Joaquim Tenreiro

Portuguese, 1906 - 1992
Joaquim Tenreiro (1906–1992) emerged as a prominent figure in mid-20th century Brazil, renowned for his contributions as both a furniture designer and visual artist.
Hailing from Melo, Gouveia Municipality, Portugal, Tenreiro was born into a lineage of skilled woodworkers and carpenters. In the late 1920s, he made the pivotal decision to relocate to Rio de Janeiro, where he commenced his career at the prestigious firm of Laubisch Hirth.
By the early 1940s, Tenreiro emerged as a trailblazer within the Brazilian furniture scene, embracing the principles of European modernist design. His seminal work, the "Poltrona Leve" crafted in 1942, garnered significant acclaim, leading him to establish his own enterprise in 1943, with manufacturing facilities in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Notably, esteemed architect Oscar Niemeyer counted among Tenreiro's primary clientele, commissioning several pieces for his architectural projects.
Distinguishing his work by incorporating native Brazilian hardwoods and designing with a keen awareness of the local climate, Tenreiro pioneered a style uniquely suited to the region. Notable among his creations is the enduring "Cadeira de Embalo" (Rocking Chair) introduced in 1947, which remains in production to this day. In 2008, an exemplar of his iconic "three-legged chair" fetched over US$90,000 at auction.
Transitioning from the furniture industry in the late 1960s, Tenreiro redirected his focus towards his lifelong passions of painting and sculpture. He passed away in Itapira, Brazil, at the age of 86, leaving behind a legacy of innovation and artistic brilliance.
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