Loir was the landscape painter of Paris during the industrial age of the Belle Époque. While at the Parma Academy of Fine Arts, he mixed with the up-and-coming young painters of Italian modernity, the “Macchiaioli” who observed movement and form to create a “macchia” or luminous spot. Loir arrived in Paris in 1863 and witnessed a society bubbling with energy, the city packed with cabarets, open-air dance floors, cafés and shows. Loir depicted the Paris suburbs with their humble population of workers, strollers and shopgirls. In his impressive, panoramic scenes, the busy energy of the streets contrasts with the sobriety of his carefully structured compositions. The twinkling gas lamps, sweeping new avenues and opulent store-fronts were the source of his inspiration. Fascinated by the atmosphere of night, he used monochrome tonalities that conveyed a certain melancholy. Smoke effects, subtle lighting and misty twilights – these are his defining elements. His love of light on water even earned him the nickname “water therapist”! He haunted the Paris boulevards, as did other painters of life in the capital, such as Gervex and Béraud. During his very successful career he was awarded the Légion d’honneur in 1898, and made lucrative partnerships in the burgeoning world of advertising illustration.