Luigi Loir is a highly sought-after painter of Parisian views. Equally proficient in oils and watercolour his paintings have a great decorative appeal yet retain an artistic integrity and originality that so many artists of popular views of Paris lose in their repetition of similar scenes.
He was born in Austria, spent his formative years in Italy and in 1853 Loir entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Parma and ten years later left for Paris where he worked under the painter and designer Pastelot. His debut at the Salon was in 1865 with a landscape and he subsequently exhibited views of Parma, Rouen and Dieppe. After the war of 1870 when he was distinguished in combat he concentrated on views of Paris (particularly Asniéres, Neuilly) on which his reputation was based. He gained innumerable distinctions and medals, for instance the Gold Medal at the Exposition Universelle in 1900, and was awarded the Légion d’Honneur in 1898 by the French government.
Loir (who after his very early work always signed in capitals Loir Luigi) obtained a wonderful atmosphere in his watercolours, combining enough detail with a genuine wash watercolour feel to please purists. He excelled in scenes at sunset, in snow, and particularly under grey skies which suited his love for soft atmospheric effects. He usually employed a low horizon which intensified the lines of perspective - his low viewpoint brings us into the scene, as if we the viewer are on the street. His paintings are represented in a number of major museums, including the Palais de Beaux-Arts in Paris, the Musée de Petit-Palais in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Prague Museum, the Tretiakoff Museum in Moscow and the Galerie Moderne in Vienna. His oils have fetched high prices at auction, notably £98,300 for one depicting Les grands boulevards, Paris.