James "Buddy" Edgerton is the grandson of Elva Edgerton, who posed as the stoic woman in the backseat of the car, the only character whose composure remains exactly the same in both panels. Buddy was a a close Rockwell neighbor, and the model for several of Rockwell's Boy Scout calendar illustrations. Learn more about Going and Coming from Rockwell's Arlington, Vermont neighbor in the video interview below.
Rockwell's Post covers were often inspired by seasonal or topical subjects that were relevant to the publication's readership. This was especially true after a 1943 studio fire destroyed his collection of historical costumes and props, prompting him to create imagery that reflected the world around him. A magazine cover is in essence a small-scale poster intended to be "read" and understood in a matter of seconds, prompting the purchase the publication.
In Going and Coming, one of Rockwell's two panel illustrations, the artist creates a continuum of time. We see the before and after of a family's summer outing by the lake, and 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 two scenes. This technique is employed by Rockwell in only two other Post covers, but was commonly used by other Post illustrators. The technique is derived from the comic strip and its 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 W. Wright's painting of Going to and Returning from the Seashore as the inspiration for Going and Coming.