The Third-Class Carriage

Artist: Honoré Daumier (French, Marseilles 1808–1879 Valmondois)

Date: ca. 1862–64

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 25 3/4 x 35 1/2 in. (65.4 x 90.2 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929

Accession Number: 29.100.129

Description

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.

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