Art Appetizer: “The Third Class Carriage” by Daumier

Honore Daumier, “The Third-Class Carriage” (1862-1864).

This Art Appetizer piece takes a look at French graphic artist, Honore Daumier, who is known for his caricatures. When I think of caricatures, I think of the artists sitting on a boardwalk at the beach who draw funny depictions of people with a marker. If you’re thinking the same, I think this piece will change your mind a little.

Here’s the 1-2-3 on “The Third-Class Carriage” by Daumier:

  1. According to, “The Third-Class Carriage” is “actually one of a three-part series commissioned by Walter Thompson Walters, the other two works being The First Class Carriage and The Second Class Carriage.” The three pieces show the differences in economics in Paris at the time by depicting three different classes in the train. The scenes slowly become more cramped and bleaker.

    "The First Class Carriage" by Daumier

    "The Second Class Carriage" by Daumie

  2. Daumier liked to focus on depictions of Parisian life, especially the implications of industrialization. Specifically, this piece shows three generations of women in a family.
  3. Daumier made his living as a political cartoonist for Le Charivari. I think you can see a little of the cartoon and caricature style in this piece. He is known for his heavy form and characterizations with a lack of finish. However, this piece specifically is actually unfinished, according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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