The Third-class Carriage, c. 1863-1865
oil on canvas
65.4 x 90.2 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 4633)
Daumier produced lithographs about the hardships and inconveniences of rail travel as early as 1843. The National Gallery of Canada painting closely follows a watercolour version commissioned in 1864 by the American railway magnate William Walters. Like Jean-François Millet's peasant farmers of Barbizon, the humble circumstances of the family in the foreground are portrayed with a noble simplicity, and the look of stoic resignation and fatigue etched on the face of the old woman evokes profound sympathy.