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 pictorial form on his labels after receiving the award. Shortly afterwards, in 1895 he left Ramirez and Madrid for Barcelona where he set up his own workshop as an independent builder. 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 and Miguel Simplicio, Enrique Sanfeliu, Enrique Coll and Ignacio Fleta. Perhaps the most important hallmark of his style is the increased stiffness in his soundboards - his guitars commonly featured 8 asymmetrical fans instead of the traditional 7 - as does this guitar (notably - years later Ignacio Fleta would increase the number of fans to 9). Garcia was arguably the most sought-after and famous maker at the turn of the century (1900). 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 Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay was forming. His guitars have always been prized by performers and collectors for their intimate charm and unique style.
This is a wonderfully well-preserved example of Garcia building in his great, mature style. Stylistically the instrument is fairly simple in decoration (especially compared to the much more intricate and highly ornate guitars built between 1919-1922 after Francisco Simplicio began working for Garcia). The tone is wholesome and robust. It has it all - very lively and "friendly" with great charm and personality. Garcia instruments in this condition with this quality of sound are hard to come by, so we are proud to present this very rare and collectible instrument by one of the great masters of the twentieth century.