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Joaquim Tenreiro

Brazilian, Portuguese, 1906-1992

The Portugese-born furniture designer Joaquim Tenreiro was a pioneer of modernism in Brazil, where his work paved the way for the successes of such mid-20th-century design greats as Sergio Rodrigues, Jorge Zalszupin, and Lina Bo Bardi, an Italian-Brazilian architect whose futuristic São Paulo buildings are only part of her legacy. Tenreiro’s chairs, tables and cabinets are known for their simplicity of line and an elegance that is enhanced by the use of richly grained South American hardwoods such as jacaranda and imbuia. 

Tenreiro’s father and grandfather were both master woodworkers, under whom he trained in the craft. He had artistic leanings and in the late 1920s enrolled as a university student at the School of Arts and Crafts in Rio de Janeiro, where he joined a group of upstart modernists protesting the staid, retrograde curriculum at the college. At the time, Brazil was culturally mired in a 19th-century mindset that was reflected in an upper-class preference for academic painting and reproduction furnishings in antique European styles. But the progressive spirit that Tenreiro and his colleagues fostered slowly gained force. With the terms “lightness” and “functionality” as his bywords, Tenreiro opened a furniture-design business in 1943, where one of his first clients was the legendary architect Oscar Niemeyer. The arrival of Brazil’s first democratically elected government, in 1945, lent modernism official sanction, which culminated in the construction of the new capital, Brasília. Tenreiro eventually stepped away from design in the late 1960s to devote his time to sculpture and painting. 

To appreciate how revolutionary Tenreiro’s work seemed, one must imagine the heavy, ornately carved, deeply varnished furniture that was the standard for top-end Brazilian interior design in the 1930s. Tenreiro’s chairs and sofas employed slender, softly angular frames that were only lightly stained to highlight the grains of the local woods. He preferred chairs and chaises with caned seats and backrests that “breathe” in the tropical climate, and as a carpenter and joiner he wanted to show off the beauty of Brazilian wood. Two versions of a three-legged side chair introduced in 1947 serve as a veritable manifesto for a new age in Brazilian design: Using the stack-lamination technique, Tenreiro bonded together a gently contoured seat made of alternating layers of different-colored native woods to produce a magnificent stripe effect. These chairs, like all Tenreiro works, demonstrate the enduring power of simple design and superb construction — with a teaspoon of flair.

Joaquim Tenreiro Two Seats Bench, Brasil, 1958
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Barcelona, ES
Joaquim Tenreiro Two seats bench Manufactured by Tenreiro Moveis e Decoraçaos Brasil, 1958 Jacaranda wood, cane From the archives of Side Gallery, Barcelona Measurements 1...
Category

1950s Brazilian Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro

Materials

Cane, Jacaranda

  • Joaquim Tenreiro Two Seats Bench, Brasil, 1958
  • Joaquim Tenreiro Two Seats Bench, Brasil, 1958
  • Joaquim Tenreiro Two Seats Bench, Brasil, 1958
  • Joaquim Tenreiro Two Seats Bench, Brasil, 1958
H 27.96 in. W 47.25 in. D 19.69 in.
Mid-Century Modern Upholstery Lounge Chair by Joaquim Tenreiro, Brazil, 1956
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Miami, FL
Mid-Century Modern upholstery lounge chair by Joaquim Tenreiro, Brazil 1956 Designed in 1956 in Brazil by the designer Joaquim Tenreiro, this lounge chair features splayed feet in...
Category

1950s Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro

Materials

Fabric, Wood

Six Chairs by Joaquim Tenreiro
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Milan, IT
Six chairs by Joaquim Tenreiro, Brazil, 1948. Manufactured by Langenbach & Tenreiro Ltda. Example provided with manufacturer’s label. Wood, straw. 49 x 54 x H 103 cm. 19.2 x 21.2 x ...
Category

1940s Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro

Materials

Straw, Wood

  • Six Chairs by Joaquim Tenreiro
  • Six Chairs by Joaquim Tenreiro
  • Six Chairs by Joaquim Tenreiro
  • Six Chairs by Joaquim Tenreiro
H 40.56 in. W 19.3 in. D 21.26 in.
Brazilian Modern Pair of Cane Lounge Chairs by Joaquim Tenreiro, Early 1960s
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Sao Paulo, SP
Brazilian Mid-Century Modern pair of cane and Peroba Branca Hardwood lounge chairs designed and produced by Joaquim Tenreiro, early 1960s. These lounge chairs are amongst the most m...
Category

Mid-20th Century Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Joaquim Tenreiro

Materials

Cane, Hardwood

Curva Chair by Joaquim Tenreiro, 1960s, Brazilian Midcentury Design
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Clifton, NJ
This exquisitely crafted rosewood curved chair with stick back designed by Joaquim Tenreiro (1906-1992) evokes a refined coexistence of traditional values and modern aesthetics. Its ...
Category

1960s Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro

Materials

Cane, Rosewood

Joaquim Tenreiro Jacaranda Long Chair, Brazil, 1950s
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Dubai, AE
Joaquim Tenreiro long chair Jacaranda wood Brazil, 1950s.
Category

Mid-20th Century Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Joaquim Tenreiro

Materials

Jacaranda

Joaquim Tenreiro “Curva” Chairs, Brazil, 1960s
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Utrecht, NL
Joaquim Tenreiro was a sculptor, painter, engraver and designer, born into a family of joiners. By the late 1940s, the modern movement had taken hold in Brazil, and Tenreiro’s pieces...
Category

1960s Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro

Materials

Cane, Wood

  • Joaquim Tenreiro “Curva” Chairs, Brazil, 1960s
  • Joaquim Tenreiro “Curva” Chairs, Brazil, 1960s
  • Joaquim Tenreiro “Curva” Chairs, Brazil, 1960s
  • Joaquim Tenreiro “Curva” Chairs, Brazil, 1960s
H 31.89 in. W 20.48 in. D 19.69 in.
Rocking Chair Joaquim Tenreiro, 1960s, Brazilian Midcentury Design
By Joaquim Tenreiro
Located in Clifton, NJ
"When I was making furniture, the plaited cane had almost disappeared in Brazil, nobody used it. I retrieved cane from the colonial tradition. Cane originally came from India and had...
Category

1950s Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Joaquim Tenreiro

Materials

Cane, Rosewood

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Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Furniture by Joaquim Tenreiro are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. There are many options in our Joaquim Tenreiro Furniture collection, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. We stock 74 vintage versions of these items, while there is 0 modern edition to choose from as well. Many original furniture by Joaquim Tenreiro were created in South America during the 20th century in the Mid-Century Modern style. If you are looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Jean Gillon, José Zanine Caldas and Carlo Hauner and Martin Eisler. The prices for Joaquim Tenreiro furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $3,560 and tops out at $115,000, while pieces like these can sell for $32,000 on average..