Third Class Carriage – A Treasure Unearthed!

2018-09-12T10:16:33+00:00

July 19, 2004

To find a “lost” Daumier work doesn’t happen too often. We are therefore delighted to present here a remarkable drawing by Daumier. Over the last 50 years this important and published drawing has been declared as lost and was missing in all the major publications. By pure coincidence we “unearthed” this treasure.

As you can see from the photograph, this beautiful and quite large drawing (52x 86 cm) shows one of Daumier’s impressive scenes of “un wagon de troisième classe” (third class carriage). The artist used a thick black pencil on brownish tracing paper (papier calque). The drawing is unsigned and we may assume that Daumier used it for the artistic preparation of one of his three presently known paintings of this theme – most likely for the one owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The other two works can be seen today at the Baltimore Museum of Art and at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. A similar, but slightly different drawing, also executed on “papier calque”, belongs to the Clouzot Collection in Paris.

The paper shows some traces of folds and cuts due to its age (the drawing was done around 1863 – 1865). These flaws however have no impact on the artistic significance of the work. When looking at the drawing and the New York painting, a difference in size is striking: the canvas of the oil painting is some 13 cm larger than the drawing. The reason being that the drawing does not incorporate the roof of the carriage. Maison assumes ( K.E.M p.I-142/iv) that Daumier copied this drawing from his painting. This elaborate tracing was made without any “essential changes”, but on paper which was slightly smaller than the canvas.

The drawing shown here also served as a basis for the reverse drawing (inverse tracing) in the later Clouzot Collection ( K.E.M.II-300) . The “Clouzot-drawing” in turn was used as a basis for the oil painting, which is now at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

Provenance:

A. Vollard Collection, Paris

Paul Cassirer, Berlin-Johannesburg

Henri M. Petiet Collection, Paris

Private Collection Switzerland

Exposition:

Paris 1901, Beaux-Arts, N° 297

The Daumier Register,2004 Internet publication (www.daumier.org)

Bibliography:

K.E. Maison, vol II, p. 191, n° 299 and pl. 80

Mandel/Barzine Nr 215/2 p. 107 (declared “Lost” in 1971)

Daumier & Rouault, Accademia di Francia a Roma, Nov. 1983, p. 113 (declared “Lost”)

Bruce Laughton: Honoré Daumier. pp.109-116

Daumier Register ( the drawing will appear in the Daumier Register’s drawings section of the new work catalogue)

For further questions or details, please contact the Daumier Register at www.daumier.org