(b. 1808, Marseille, d. 1879, Valmondois)

The Third-class Carriage

Oil on canvas, 65 x 90 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

In 1843 Daumier began to depict groups of people in public conveyances and waiting rooms, and for more than two decades he treated these themes in lithographs, watercolours, and oil paintings. His characterizations of travelers document the period in the mid-19th century when the cities of France and their inhabitants were undergoing the immense changes brought about by industrialization. A lifelong social critic, Daumier was able to infuse his renderings of contemporary life with a broad significance that touched on the inner character of mankind.