The Third-Class Carriage

Honoré Daumier (French, Marseilles 1808–1879 Valmondois)

ca. 1862–64
Oil on canvas
25 3/4 x 35 1/2 in. (65.4 x 90.2 cm)
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    As a graphic artist and painter, Daumier chronicled the impact of industrialization on modern urban life in mid-nineteenth-century Paris. Here, he amplifies the subject of a lithograph made some ten years earlier: the hardship and quiet fortitude of third-class railway travelers. Bathed in light, the nursing mother, elderly woman, and sleeping boy emanate a serenity not often associated with public transport. Unfinished and squared for transfer, this picture closely corresponds to a watercolor of 1864 (Walters Art Museum, Baltimore) and a roughly contemporary oil (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa), but the sequence of the compositions remains unresolved.

  • Provenance

    Duz, Paris (by 1878–92; sold on June 8, 1892 to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1892–93, stock no. 2316; sold on April 19, 1893 to Durand-Ruel, New York]; [Durand-Ruel, New York, 1893–96, stock no. 1048, sold on February 24, 1896 to Borden]; Matthew C. D. Borden, New York (1896–d. 1912; his estate sale, American Art Association, New York, February 13–14, 1913, no. 76, for $40,000, to Durand-Ruel for Havemeyer); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1913–d. 1929; cat. 1931, pp. 102–3, ill.)

  • Exhibition History

    Paris. École des Beaux-Arts. "Exposition des peintures, aquarelles, dessins et lithographies des maîtres français de la caricature et de la peinture de mœurs au XIXe siècle," 1888, no. 361 (as "Un Wagon de 3e classe," lent by M. Duz).

    New York. Durand-Ruel. November 1894, no catalogue [see New York Times 1894].

    New York. Union League Club. "Paintings from the M. C. D. Borden Collection," November 1909, no catalogue [see New York Times 1909].

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 10–November 2, 1930, no. 42 [2nd ed., 1958, no. 96].

    Paris. Musée de l'Orangerie. "Daumier: Peintures, aquarelles, dessins," 1934, no. 6.

    Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Museum of Art. "Daumier 1808–1879," 1937, no. 5.

    Paris. Palais National des Arts. "Chefs d'œuvre de l'art français," July–September 1937, no. 288.

    Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Diamond Jubilee Exhibition: Masterpieces of Painting," November 4, 1950–February 11, 1951, no. 57.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art Treasures of the Metropolitan," November 7, 1952–September 7, 1953, no. 142.

    Paris. Musée de l'Orangerie. "De David à Toulouse-Lautrec: Chefs-d'œuvre des collections américaines," Spring 1955, no. 16.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Van Gogh as Critic and Self-Critic," October 30, 1973–January 6, 1974, no. 38.

    Amsterdam. Rijksmuseum Vincent Van Gogh. "Franse meesters uit het Metropolitan Museum of Art: Realisten en Impressionisten," March 15–May 31, 1987, no. 8.

    Leningrad [St. Petersburg]. State Hermitage Museum. "From Delacroix to Matisse," March 15–May 10, 1988, no. 3.

    Moscow. Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. "From Delacroix to Matisse," June 10–July 30, 1988, no. 3.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Daumier Drawings," February 26–May 2, 1993, no cat. number.

    Ottawa. National Gallery of Canada. "Daumier, 1808–1879," June 11–September 6, 1999, no. 271.

    Paris. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. "Daumier, 1808–1879," October 5, 1999–January 3, 2000, no. 271.

    Washington. Phillips Collection. "Daumier, 1808–1879," February 19–May 14, 2000, no. 271.

    Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 19.

    Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19.Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.

  • References

    Arthur Stevens. Letter to Honoré Daumier. September 26, 1864 [published in "Daumier," Arts et Livres de Provence, Marseilles, 1948, p. 95], relates that Baudelaire saw a painting of a third-class journey in Daumier's studio and presumes it is the same subject as a watercolor that he has seen; requests that Daumier send the painting to him in Belgium, either for his own or another collector's purchase [see Ref. Pantazzi 1999].

    Camille Pelletan. "Sur l'ouverture de l'exposition Daumier; Exposition Daumier." Le Rappel (May 31, 1878), p. 2, [see Ref. Pantazzi 1999].

    Paul Sébillot. Le Bien public (April 23, 1878), mentions that it is in the collection of M. Duz [see Ref. Adhémar 1954].

    Vincent van Gogh. Letter to his brother Theo. [November 5, 1882] [Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, inv. nos. b263 a-b V/1962; pub. in Van Gogh Letters 1958, letter no. 241; Van Gogh Letters 2009, letter no. 280]

    , states that he has never seen the painting (possibly this picture or the version in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa).

    Arsène Alexandre. Honoré Daumier: L'Homme et l'œuvre. Paris, 1888, p. 375, ill. p. 257, calls it a sketch for the picture owned by the comte Doria (now National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; M I-166); locates it in the Duz collection.

    "Individualists at Durand-Ruel's." New York Times (November 3, 1894), p. 4.

    Julius Meier-Graefe. Entwicklungsgeschichte der Modernen Kunst. Stuttgart, 1904, vol. 1, p. 97, calls the Ottawa picture (M I-166) a brilliant replica of this painting.

    Julius Meier-Graefe. Corot und Courbet: Ein Beitrag zur Entwicklungsgeschichte der Modernen Malerei. Leipzig, 1905, p. 192.

    Erich Klossowski. Honoré Daumier. Munich, 1908, pp. 18, [139], no. 253, pl. 58, calls it a sketch for the Ottawa version (M I-166).

    "Gallery Notes: Pictures from M. C. D. Borden's Collection Exhibited at Union League." New York Times (November 12, 1909), p. 9, calls it "one of the prizes" of Borden's collection.

    August F. Jaccaci. "Paintings of the Modern French, Dutch, German and American Masters." Old and Modern Masters in the Collection of M. C. D. Borden. 2, New York, 1911, pp. 8, 46–47, no. 38, ill. (color), calls it the earlier of the two painted versions.

    Guy Pène du Bois. Honoré Daumier: Appreciations of His Life and Works. New York, 1922, p. 51, erroneously states that this painting sold for $45,000 at the Borden sale.

    Raymond Escholier. Daumier: Peintre et Lithographe. Paris, 1923, p. 158 [2nd ed., 1930, pl. 55], notes the influence of Millet in the figures.

    Erich Klossowski. Honoré Daumier. 2nd rev. ed. Munich, 1923, p. 109, no. 253, fig. 99.

    Michael Sadleir. Daumier: The Man and the Artist. London, 1924, pl. 22.

    Eduard Fuchs. Der Maler Daumier. Munich, 1927, pp. 19, 21, 39, 47, under no. 43 [2nd rev. ed., 1930], calls it an almost identical version of the Ottawa painting (M I-166).

    "Havemeyer Gift Approved by Son." New York Times (January 17, 1929), p. 21.

    Elisabeth Luther Cary. "An Integral Monument." New York Times (March 9, 1930), p. 128.

    The H.O. Havemeyer Collection: A Catalogue of the Temporary Exhibition. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1930, p. 8, no. 42, calls it an earlier version of the Ottawa picture (M I-166).

    Frank Jewett Mather Jr. "The Havemeyer Pictures." The Arts 16 (March 1930), p. 450, ill. p. 447.

    Harry B. Wehle. "The Exhibition of the H. O. Havemeyer Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 25 (March 1930), p. 56, ill. p. 58, calls it a "superlatively powerful colored drawing".

    H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, pp. 102–3, ill.

    Charles Sterling. Daumier: Peintures, aquarelles, dessins. Exh. cat., Musée de l'Orangerie. Paris, 1934, pp. 45, 46, no. 6, fig. 6, calls it a sketch with variations for the Ottawa picture (M I-166).

    Jean Adhémar. "Sur la date des tableaux de Daumier." Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de l'Art Français (1935), pp. 154–55, dates it about 1856; mentions Daumier's treatment of this theme in lithographs of 1855 and paintings of 1862 and 1864.

    Hans Tietze. Meisterwerke europäischer Malerei in Amerika. Vienna, 1935, p. 343, pl. 269.

    Agnès Mongan. "Six aquarelles inédites de Daumier." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 17 (April 1937), pp. 251–52, discusses the watercolor version of this composition (Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; M D-298), noting that the round bundle next to the sleeping boy was changed to a box in the MMA painting, which she considers a sketch for the Ottawa picture (M I-166).

    Claude Roger-Marx in Daumier 1808–1879. Exh. cat., Pennsylvania Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1937, pp. 8–9, 21, no. 5, ill.

    Charles Sterling in Chefs d'œuvre de l'art français. Exh. cat., Palais National des Arts. Paris, 1937, p. 144, no. 288, dates it about 1856 and calls it a sketch with variations for the Ottawa picture (M I-166).

    Raymond Escholier. "Daumier." L'Art et les artistes 37 (November 1938), p. 64, ill. p. 47.

    Paul Valéry. Daumier. Paris, 1938, unpaginated, ill. (color), dates it about 1865.

    A Treasury of Art Masterpieces, from the Renaissance to the Present Day. New York, 1939, p. 486, colorpl. 118.

    Henri Marceau and David Rosen. "Daumier: Draftsman-painter." Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 3 (1940), pp. 9–41, ill., call it unfinished; consider it likely that it was squared and enlarged from the watercolor (Walters Art Gallery; M D-298) and observe that it is closer to the watercolor than to the Ottawa painting (M I-166).

    Aline B. Louchheim. "Five Thousand Years of Art." Art News Annual (1945–46), p. 89, ill.

    Josephine L. Allen. "Notes." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 5 (October 1946), opp. p. 49, ill. and front cover (color detail), compares the underpainting of this picture with the watercolor (M D-298).

    S[amson]. L[ane]. Faison, Jr. Honoré Daumier: Third Class Railway Carriage in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. London, 1946, pp. 3–5, 9–10, 12–15, figs. 1, 5–7, 10, 12–16, 18–19 (overall, and infrared and panchromatic details) and ill. on front cover (color detail), discusses this composition in relation to Daumier's watercolors of first, second, and third-class carriages (Walters Art Gallery; M D-296, D-297, D-298).

    Lionello Venturi. Modern Painters. 1, New York, 1947, p. 188.

    Art Treasures of the Metropolitan: A Selection from the European and Asiatic Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1952, p. 232, no. 142, ill. (color).

    Jean Adhémar. Honoré Daumier. Paris, [1954], pp. 52–53, 128, no. 147, ill. between pp. 50 and 51, colorpl. 147, dates it about 1862 and calls it a replica of the Ottawa version (M I-166); discusses Daumier's numerous treatments of this subject and the influence of Millet.

    Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), ill. p. 52.

    James Thrall Soby. De David à Toulouse-Lautrec: Chefs-d'œuvre des collections américaines. Exh. cat., Musée de l'Orangerie. Paris, 1955, unpaginated, no. 16, pl. 27, considers it the first version of the composition.

    K. E. Maison. "Further Daumier Studies— I: The Tracings." Burlington Magazine 98 (May 1956), p. 166, considers it the first, unfinished version; mentions a tracing of the Ottawa version exhibited in 1901 (M D-299) and a reversed tracing made for use in the studio (M D-300); surmises that "almost certainly a squared drawing or tracing of this composition must have existed too" since the squaring of the MMA canvas must correspond to that of a drawing.

    Gerhart Ziller. Honoré Daumier. Dresden, 1957, colorpl. 106.

    Vincent van Gogh. The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh with Reproductions of All the Drawings in the Correspondence. Greenwich, Conn., 1958, vol. 1, p. 478, under letter no. 241 (possibly this work).

    Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York, 1961, p. 7.

    K. E. Maison in Daumier: Paintings and Drawings. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. [London], 1961, p. 40, under no. 69, suggests that the tracing of the Ottawa painting (M D-299) was used to transfer the composition to the MMA canvas.

    Robert Rey. Honoré Daumier. New York, [1966], pp. 132–33, ill. (color), dates it about 1862.

    Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX Century." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2, New York, 1966, pp. 37–39, ill., consider the watercolor (M D-298) to be the earliest version, followed by the MMA and Ottawa paintings (M I-165, I-166), stating that all three "probably came toward the end of the long series" of Daumier's representations of "humanity glimpsed in public conveyances or waiting rooms".

    Oliver W. Larkin. Daumier: Man of His Time. 1967, pp. 149–50, fig. 71.

    K. E. Maison. "The Watercolours and Drawings." Honoré Daumier: Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Watercolours, and Drawings. 2, New York, 1967, pp. 100–101.

    H. W. Janson and Joseph Kerman. A History of Art and Music. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., [1968], pp. 171–72, fig. 222, find in this picture an "insight into character and a breadth of human sympathy worthy of Rembrandt," and a feeling for the dignity of the poor recalling Louis Le Nain.

    K. E. Maison. "The Paintings." Honoré Daumier: Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Watercolours, and Drawings. 1, Greenwich, Conn., 1968, pp. 141–43, no. I-165, pl. 61, dates it 1863–65; calls it "an unfinished picture in exceptionally fine state of preservation"; lists the various versions in chronological order: the watercolor (M D-298); a lost tracing of the watercolor; the MMA painting enlarged from the lost tracing; a tracing of the MMA painting (M D-299); the reverse tracing of D-299 (M D-300); the Ottawa painting (M I-166) made by transferring the reverse side of D-300.

    Gabriele Mandel in L'opera pittorica completa di Daumier. Milan, 1971, p. 107, no. 215, ill. and colorpl. 52–53.

    Carl R. Baldwin The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Impressionist Epoch. [New York], 1974, p. 21.

    Frederick S. Wight. The Potent Image: Art in the Western World from Cave Paintings to the 1970s. New York, 1976, pp. 261–62, ill., dates it about 1862.

    Sarah Symmons. Daumier. London, 1979, pp. 16, 73, 79, 89, 97, colorpl. 6, dates it 1863–65; states that it was enlarged from a tracing taken from the watercolor (M D-298); notes that infrared and panchromatic photographs reveal how often Daumier changed his mind during the course of its execution.

    Frances Weitzenhoffer. "The Creation of the Havemeyer Collection, 1875–1900." PhD diss., City University of New York, 1982, pp. 105–6, 118 n. 19, pp. 163–64, 169 n. 37, relates that the Havemeyers were offered this painting by Durand-Ruel in 1892 but did not buy it, only to do so in 1913 at the Borden sale.

    Six Paintings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. David Bakalar. Sotheby's, New York. 1984, unpaginated, under no. 1.

    Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, pp. 56, 80–81, 209, 258, 262 n. 9, colorpl. 149.

    Sjraar van Heutgen et al. in Franse meesters uit het Metropolitan Museum of Art: Realisten en Impressionisten. Exh. cat., Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1987, pp. 17, 42–43, no. 8, ill. (color).

    Colta Ives in Daumier Drawings. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1992, p. 136, under no. 48, fig. 95, dates it 1863–65.

    Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. 3rd ed. [1st ed. 1930, repr. 1961]. New York, 1993, pp. 7, 303, 308 n. 13.

    Susan Alyson Stein in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 214, 262–63, 284–85, colorpl. 261, dates it 1863–65.

    Gretchen Wold in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 322, no. A177, ill., dates it 1863–65.

    Bruce Laughton. Honoré Daumier. New Haven, 1996, pp. 113–14, 116, 184 n. 12, fig. 139 (color), dates it 1864–65 in the caption and about 1865–66 in the text; proposes the following chronology of the different versions: the watercolor (M D-298); a lost tracing; the Ottawa painting (M I-166), made from the lost tracing, based on an x-ray which shows the Ottawa composition originally closely resembled the watercolor; the MMA painting made from the same lost tracing before the Ottawa painting was finished; two tracings of the MMA painting, including one in reverse (M D-299, D-300); a drawing on glass made from the inverse tracing (private collection, Germany; not in Maison); reworking of the Ottawa painting.

    Eberhard Roters. Malerei des 19. Jahrhunderts: Themen und Motive. Cologne, 1998, vol. 1, pp. 413–14, ill., dates it 1863 or 1865.

    Pierre Cabanne. Honoré Daumier: Témoin de la comédie humaine. [Paris], 1999, pp. 52–53, 139, ill. (color), dates it about 1864.

    Robert Fohr. Daumier: Sculpteur et peintre. Paris, 1999, p. 124, ill. p. 122 (color).

    Ségolène Le Men in Daumier, 1808–1879. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa, 1999, p. 324.

    Michael Pantazzi in Daumier, 1808–1879. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa, 1999, pp. 24, 26, 425–28, no. 271, ill. (color), dates it about 1862–64; calls the three Third-Class Carriage compositions (M D-298, I-165, I-166) "the most complex psychologically" of Daumier's treatments of this subject matter; characterizes the sequence of the different versions as still unresolved; notes that Arthur Stevens [Ref. 1864] could only have seen the watercolor between June and September 1864, and that Baudelaire must have seen the MMA painting prior to spring 1864 when he departed for Belgium, concluding that the painting preceded the watercolor; asserts that the Ottawa painting was reworked on two separate occasions and that the glass tracing was made from a later stage of the Ottawa painting; proposes that the first tracing (M D-299) was made from the glass tracing and then used for the already begun MMA painting.

    19th Century European Art, Including Property from HSBC's Corporate Art Collection. Sotheby's, New York. October 26, 2004, p. 78, under no. 50, discusses it in the context of Corot's "Portrait of Honoré Daumier Painting 'The Third Class Carriage'".

    Kathryn Calley Galitz in Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 47, 237–38, no. 44, ill. (color and black and white).

    Kathryn Calley Galitz in The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 39, 204, no. 19, ill. (color and black and white).

    Gary Tinterow in The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, fig. 9 (installation photo).

    Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale. Sotheby's, New York. May 8, 2008, p. 36, under no. 118, fig. 1, dates it 1863–65; discusses the similar facial features between the woman holding a basket in this painting and the sitter in the drawing "Mère et enfant" (formerly estate of Catherine Gamble Curran).

    Vincent van Gogh. Vincent van Gogh—The Letters. London, 2009, vol. 2, p. 192, fig. 3 (color), under letter no. 280, reproduce the present painting, although Van Gogh may have been referring to either this work or another version, such as the one in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

  • Notes

    The chronology of the different versions of this composition is unresolved [see Ref. Pantazzi 1999]. Besides the watercolor (Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; M D-298) and finished oil (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; M I-166), there are two pencil tracings on paper (present location unknown, M D-299; Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, D-300) and a tracing on glass (private collection, Germany; not in Maison).

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History