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Oscar Niemeyer

Brazilian, 1907-2012

Oscar Niemeyer made modernist architecture sexy. In his signature designs, such as those for the planned capital city of Brasília, Niemeyer created a distinctively buoyant architectural vocabulary of sweeping curves, flowing lines and organic forms (attributes that also characterize his seductive furniture). As expressions of faith in the power of modern architecture and design to foster progress, Niemeyer’s buildings have a kind of heroic poetry.

Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho was born to an upper-middle-class family in Rio de Janeiro. (His father was a graphic designer.) While in graduate school, Niemeyer began working for Lúcio Costa, one of the few modernist architects working in Brazil in the 1930s. Niemeyer would be assigned to the design team for a new building in Rio for the Ministry of Education and Health. The famed Swiss-born French architect Le Corbusier was hired as a consultant on the project, and through him Niemeyer would absorb many lessons in bringing a sense of structural lightness to large buildings — though he would never embrace the geometric forms espoused by Le Corbusier and the members of the Bauhaus.

“I am not attracted to straight angles or to the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man,” Niemeyer would write in his memoirs. “I am attracted to free-flowing sensual curves.”

Nowhere would Niemeyer demonstrate his love of curvature more expressively and elegantly than in his designs for the principal buildings for Brasília, a project begun in 1956. The dramatic Congressional Palace features two stark towers flanked by a domed structure and a bowl-shaped edifice, for the upper and lower legislative houses. He placed the Palácio da Alvorada (the presidential residence) on a small peninsula jutting into a lake, so that the sequence of parabolic columns on its facade casts a mirror image on the water. Niemeyer’s grandest achievement was the city’s cathedral, a stunning composition of 16 arched vertical supports with tinted-glass interstices.

Four years after Brasília was completed, in 1960, Brazil’s elected government was overthrown in a military coup. Niemeyer, a member of the Communist party, was harassed continually by the junta. He left the country and did not return until democracy was restored, in 1985.

While in exile, in the early 1970s, Niemeyer began collaborating on furniture designs with his daughter, Anna Maria Niemeyer. Their best known pieces are seating furniture — the Alta lounge chair and ottoman and the Rio rocking chaise, which have flowing bases made of sheets of lacquered wood or stainless steel, share the aesthetics of Niemeyer’s architecture.

The Alta’s deep, oversized seat pads nod — much like the chair designs of Niemeyer’s countryman Sergio Rodrigues — to the Brazilian penchant for long, languorous conversations. Examples of both designs are priced at about $20,000, depending on age, condition and materials. As you will see on these pages, Oscar Niemeyer’s furniture designs are sleek, sculptural, comfortable and elegant — as well as a compact emblem of the work of one of the great architects of our time.

Find vintage Oscar Niemeyer lounge chairs, tables and other furniture on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$20,492
Styles
Materials
'Alta' Lounge Chair & Ottoman by Oscar Niemeyer for Mobilier Intl, 1970s, Signed
By Mobilier International, Oscar Niemeyer
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This beautiful 'Alta' fireside lounge chair and ottoman by Oscar Niemeyer for Mobilier International (France) features thick curved steel frames with tufted black leather cushions. T...
Category

1970s French Modern Vintage Oscar Niemeyer

Materials

Stainless Steel

Mid-Century Broyhill Walnut Dining Chairs Six
By Broyhill Brasilia, Oscar Niemeyer
Located in Baltimore, MD
Set of six stunning Mid-Century Modern walnut Broyhill brasilia dining chairs designed by the legendary Oscar Niemeyer, and manufactured by Broyhill for the Brasilia collection, circ...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Oscar Niemeyer

Materials

Walnut

'Rio' Rocking Chaise Lounge by Oscar Niemeyer for Fasem International, Signed
By Fasem International, Oscar Niemeyer
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This 'Rio' sculptural rocking chaise lounge by Oscar Niemeyer for Fasem International was originally designed in 1978 and produced through this day by the same Italian maker. Featuri...
Category

2010s Italian Modern Oscar Niemeyer

Materials

Leather, Wood

Oscar Niemeyer Exceptional Sofa in Rosewood and Leather, Hotel SESC, Brazil 1990
By Oscar Niemeyer
Located in New York, NY
Oscar Niemeyer (1907 - 2012) A rare three-seat sofa by Oscar Niemeyer for the SESC Hotel Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro; in Brazilian rosewood with black leather cushions. A model of ...
Category

1990s Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Oscar Niemeyer

Materials

Leather, Hardwood

Retrofuturism "Alta" Model Lounge Chair Desgined by Oscar Niemeyer
By Mobilier International, Oscar Niemeyer
Located in Madrid, ES
"Alta" model lounge chair designed by Oscar Niemeyer in collaboration with Anna Maria Niemeyer and produced by Mobilier International. Steel structure with adjustable backrest and up...
Category

1970s French Futurist Vintage Oscar Niemeyer

Materials

Leather

Oscar Niemeyer Conference Table, Brasil, 1980s
By Oscar Niemeyer
Located in Greding, DE
Large conference table with veneered table top on c-shaped legs with steel surface. Signs of age and use.
Category

1980s Brazilian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Oscar Niemeyer

Materials

Steel

  • Oscar Niemeyer Conference Table, Brasil, 1980s
  • Oscar Niemeyer Conference Table, Brasil, 1980s
  • Oscar Niemeyer Conference Table, Brasil, 1980s
  • Oscar Niemeyer Conference Table, Brasil, 1980s
H 30.12 in. W 141.74 in. D 57.09 in.
Oscar Niemeyer Armchair and Ottoman Model "Alta", circa 1975 Leather Black
By Mobilier International, Oscar Niemeyer
Located in Rovereta, SM
Oscar Niemeyer armchair and ottoman model "Alta", circa 1975. Rare fireside chairs and its ottoman model "Alta" with adjustable seats and backrests in thick cushions upholstered in ...
Category

Mid-20th Century French Mid-Century Modern Oscar Niemeyer

Materials

Stainless Steel

Mid Century Broyhill Brasilia Drop Leaf Tile Top Bar Cart Console Table
By Broyhill, Oscar Niemeyer
Located in Baltimore, MD
Absolutely beautiful and functional Mid-Century Modern drop leaf tile top bar cart console table circa 1960s, from the Brasilia Premier collection by Broyhill Furniture. This absolut...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Oscar Niemeyer

Materials

Brass

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Oscar Niemeyer Sellers

Oscar Niemeyer furniture for sale on 1stDibs

Oscar Niemeyer's furniture is available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. In our Oscar Niemeyer collection, there are many options to choose from, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. In stock, we have 15 vintage editions of these items, while there is also 1 modern edition to choose from. Many of Oscar Niemeyer's original furniture was created in the Mid-Century Modern style in South America during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Lina Bo Bardi, Geraldo de Barros and José Zanine Caldas. The prices for Oscar Niemeyer furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $2,395 and tops at $45,727, while pieces like these can sell for $19,300 on average.

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