Private collection, United States
Private collection, United Kingdom
Luigi Loir was a French painter and lithographer, born in Austria. His parents were Tancrède Loir François and Thérèse Leban, respectively valet and housekeeper of the French royal family in exile in Austria. Installed at the Duchy of Palma in 1847, Luigi Loir begun his formal artistic training in 1853 at the Beaux-Arts Academy there, and graduated in 1865.
Upon graduation, he began his successful career as a landscape painter. He made his debut at the Paris Salon with his first notable work, a view of Villiers-sur-Seine that received very high praise. He continued to exhibit at the Salon, receiving multiple awards there throughout his life, and was eventually made a chevalier of the French Légion of Honour, for his contributions to Academic painting.
Subsequently to his studies in Parma, Loir studied under the French artist and caricaturist, Jean Pastelot (1810-1870) to become a mural painter. One of Loir’s first mural commissions was to paint the wall and ceiling friezes at the Châteaux du Diable (the Devil’s House), a bourgeois mansion in Bordeaux, in 1866, which is a tourist attraction to this day.
Beyond the murals, Loir worked as an artist in various media; mainly oils, watercolour and lithographs, but was also an illustrator. He made designs for the original packaging of the famous French LU biscuits. He also fought in the Franco-Prussian War, participating in the Battle of Le Bourget. At the Hôtel de Ville in Paris, who still own a number of Loir’s works today, the artist exhibited his preparatory sketches for a painting of La Fête Foraine.
Attention is not given to individual details so much as light and atmosphere. This exhibition was a huge success, and it helped to propel Loir’s fame. Soon the Municipal Council of Paris was to purchase Le marché à la ferraille, and the city of Paris would acquire La rue de la Pitie and vue du Val de Grace, while the Empress of Russia purchased a watercolour entitled The Celebration of the Throne. Luigi enjoyed success and the recognition of his talent throughout his own lifetime. Hence in 1870, he was commissioned into the military to record the battles of Bouret. He died in his beloved city on 9 February, 1916.