Luigi Loir (1845-1916)

Biography

Luigi Aloys-Francois-Joseph Loir was born on January 22nd, 1845 in Gorritz, Austria. His parents were of French origin, but his family lived in Austria as employees of the French royal family. In 1860, Luigi Loir's family returned to France but Loir remained in Parma and began studying painting at the Academy of Arts. Three years later, he moved to Paris to be with his family. It was these early experiences of Paris that were to inspire the scenes Luigi painted for the rest of his career.

Luigi Loir believed it was important to represent the modern-day scenes he was witnessing in a time of such great industrial and economic change. His work typified the interests of the turn of the century when artists found inspiration in the commercialised and glamorous urban environment.

Loir was an active Salon artist. He received many awards for his entries, such as the 3rd class medal in 1879, 2nd class medal in 1886 and a Gold medal in 1889 from the Exposition Universelle in Paris. His works were also purchased by many prestigious individuals and museums alike. During his lifetime, his work also was featured in a number of other museums such as in New York, the Musée d'Auxerre, the Musée de Nantes, and the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris.

Apart from his paintings, Loir was publicly known for his hundreds of graphic designs for advertisements, book and music illustrations and menus. To complement this already impressive array of designs he also designed theatrical decorations. His reputation as a graphic artist was so renowned that Loir was commissioned to design the exhibition cover of the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Loir was working during the period in which published print was establishing itself as a recognised and accepted art form pioneered largely in France and it was Loir, alongside other well-known poster artists such as Jules Chéret and Alphonse Mucha who revolutionized the art of the poster.

Loir's great achievements is in evidence in the quantity and calibre of his awards. He became part of the Office d'Académie in 1889 and a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur in 1898. He was also a member of the Société de Peintres-Lithographes, of the Société des Aquarellistes, and a member of the Jury of the Société des Artists Français and of the Société des Arts Décoratifs since 1899. His style suggested an interest in the Impressionist movement while his theme was similar to many Naturalist artists. Loir's influence can be seen in two very popular artists of the mid-twentieth-century: Antoine Blanchard and Édouard Cortes whose Parisian street scenes appear in striking relation to the art of Loir.

Luigi Loir remained active in painting and graphic art until the very end of his life. His last Salon entry was in 1914. He died on February 9th, 1916 in Paris during the First World War.