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Rocking Chair Joaquim Tenreiro, 1960s, Brazilian Midcentury Design

$37,000per item


"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 become a tradition in Brazil. Brazil used a cane for years. It served the purpose of the climate, mainly because of the heat in Rio de Janeiro and even in Sao Paulo. Cane was a necessary element in modern furniture.” Joaquim Tenreiro, 1985. Far beyond a designer and artist, Tenreiro was an intellectual and thinker of the Brazilian culture. We are glad to present one of the most significant pieces of his production. The rocking chairs were not invented by Joaquim Tenreiro; they were part of the domestic landscape on most Brazilian colonial houses. What Tenreiro did was to design and produce one of the first pieces of modern furniture in Brazil. Complex as this sentence it can be, Tenreiro designs are also very intricate, artesian, and brilliant; the Portuguese tradition of work will be found in his pieces. This it's one of the most iconic pieces designed by Tenreiro and was part of the collection of a traditional family in Sao Paulo. The piece goes with a letter of provenance and a “Certificate of Authenticity”. A piece in original condition.


  • Creator
    Joaquim Tenreiro (Designer)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 40.16 in. (102 cm)Width: 23.63 in. (60 cm)Depth: 24.81 in. (63 cm)
  • Style
    Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Seller Location
    Clifton, NJ
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU3979117326412

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Clifton, NJ
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 14 days of delivery.

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About the Designer

Joaquim Tenreiro

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.
About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in Clifton, NJ
Vetted Seller
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Established in 2017
1stDibs seller since 2018
37 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 23 hours
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