Going and Coming celebrates the American tradition of the summer family vacation.
James "Buddy" Edgerton is the grandson of Elva Edgerton who posed as the staid woman in the backseat, and was a model himself for several of Rockwell's Boy Scout calendars. Learn more about Going and Coming from Norman Rockwell's next-door Arlington, Vermont neighbor in the video interview below.
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), Going and Coming, 1947. Oil on canvas, 16" x 31 1/2". Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, August 30, 1947. Norman Rockwell Art Collection Trust, 1973.15. ©SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN
Photographs from Norman Rockwell Museum Digital Collections. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved.
Rockwell's Post covers were often of seasonal or topical subjects. This was especially true after the 1943 studio fire destroyed his collection of historical costumes. Not only was a magazine cover intended to be a story that was easily "read" and understood, it was often intended to be relevant to the daily life of the reader.
Going and Coming, published in August of 1947, is a good example of a story painting that is both seasonal and topical. The added ingredient of humor makes it even more engaging and thus contributes to its success. The use of two images within one picture allows Rockwell to be more detailed and create a continuum of time. We see the before and the after of the imagined event, a family 's summer outing by the lake. Clues abound for the reader's enjoyment in unraveling the story line.
The use of a split canvas to portray a juxtaposition of an event, time, age, or place is an effective device that invites comparison of the two scenes. This technique is employed by Rockwell in only two other Post covers, but was commonly used by other Post cover illustrators. In most cases it derives from a comic strip's use of a series of "frames" to tell a story. In this case, however, artist Don Spaulding, who studied with Rockwell in 1950 and spent several months living in the schoolhouse on the West Arlington Green, cites George Hand Wright's painting of Going to and Returning from the Seashore as the inspiration for Going and Coming.