Luigi Loir enrolled at the school of fine arts in Parma in 1853. Ten years later he went to Paris and worked in the studio of the painter and set designer Pastelot. During the early part of his career he produced paintings but continued to execute theatre sets, notably for Devil's Castles (Châteaux du Diable) in 1866. After the 1870 campaign, during which he distinguished himself in the battle of Bourget, Loir devoted himself almost exclusively to painting scenes of Paris, the genre for which he is mainly renowned.
Loir was the Paris painter par excellence, capturing and expressing all aspects of the life of the city at all hours of the day and night. He may be criticised for an excessive attention to the process, but his invaluable powers of observation are undeniable. Apart from those of his canvases which are in museum collections, his best-known works include: Preparations for the Fun Fair (acquired for the Salle d'Honneur of the Conseil Municipal in Paris); Scrap Iron Market (bought by the City of Paris); Rue de la Pitié Seen from the Val-de-Grâce (in the Salon des Sciences in the Hôtel de Ville in Paris); and At the Fête du Trône (a watercolour which was acquired by the empress of Russia). Loir was also a talented lithographer.
He first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1865 with a Landscape at Villiers-sur-Seine which brought him a certain amount of recognition. He was a regular exhibitor at the Salon des Artistes Français, obtaining a third-place medal in 1879, and a second-place medal and a gold medal in 1889 at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. He was decorated with the Légion d'Honneur in 1898.
Museum and Gallery Holdings
Auxerre: Game of Patience
Avranches: Dr Thébault; Abraham Dubois; M. Berryais
Bar-le-Duc: Before the Embarcation
Boulogne-sur-Mer: Memory of Boulogne
Le Puy-en-Velay: The Seine in December 1879
Moscow (State Tretyakov Gal.): Steam from the Circle Line
Nancy: Night Work on a Public Road
Nantes: Skaters' Circle
New York: Festival on the Outer Boulevards at Dusk
Nice: Quai National in Puteaux
Paris (Mus. du Petit Palais): Celebration in Honour of the Russian Sovereigns in Paris in 1886; Scrap Metal Market; Bercy during the Flood; Rue du Val-de-Grâce
Prague (Národní Gal.): Circle Line
Rouen: Rising of the Seine in Paris
St Louis: Austerlitz Bridge
Vienna (Österreichische Gal. Belvedere): Place de la République