Enrique Garcia was born in Madrid in 1868. Although he was the son of a guitar maker, Juan Garcia, in 1883 he began an apprenticeship with either Manuel or Jose Ramirez I (or likely both), and continued to work in Madrid for many years. In 1893, his guitars won first prize at the Chicago World Fair – Garcia was evidently very proud of this achievement as he represented this in pictoral form on his labels following the award. In 1895, he left Ramirez and Madrid for Barcelona where he opened a workshop at calle Aragon No. 309. In 1899, he moved his shop to calle Aragon No. 455. In 1902, he again moved his shop to its final location at Paseo de San Juan No. 110 where he remained until his death in 1922.
Garcia is considered to be the founder of the “Barcelona school”, or “Catalan” style of guitar making. His style influenced subsequent generations of Barcelona makers including Francisco Simplicio and Miguel Simplicio, Enrique Sanfeliu, and Ignacio Fleta. The two great hallmarks of his style are increased stiffness in the soundboards (his guitars commonly featured 8 fans instead of 7. Years later, Ignacio Fleta would increase this number to 9 fans), and a weakness for elaborate decoration. Aesthetically, his instruments ranged from the very simple to the wildly ornate, where extensive inlay work and extravagantly carved headstocks became synonymous with his name.
Garcia was one of the most sought-after and famous makers at the turn of the century. His reputation very early on was truly international, largely thanks to Domingo Prat and Francisco Tarrega, who both played his guitars. By 1912, he was exporting many of his instruments, primarily to South America, where a thriving and very important guitar scene, based mainly in Argentina, was forming. His guitars have always been prized by performers and collectors for their intimate charm and unique style.