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janescottcumming | all galleries >> Galleries >> The Norman Rockwell Museum > Boy in Dining Car
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Jane Cumming

Boy in Dining Car

This painting accurately describes a young boy's first effort at calculating his waiter’s tip. Some of us still have to get out our calculators to do that math.
Rockwell, always the stickler for authentic detail, needed a real dining car to photograph and paint.
The New York Central rail line diverted one of its dining cars to New York City for Rockwell's photo shoot. Rockwell, along with then ten-year-old son Peter went to the railyard for a model shoot.
When he saw the dining car, Rockwell decided that the newer car, called the 20th Century Limited, looked too modern and did not posess the character he sought for the painting. He requested an older model dining car.
As far as finding the ideal model for the waiter, the first three models interviewed also proved to be not suited for that role as Rockwell pictured it.
The following week when the older car with more character arrived, so did his waiter. The waiter who arrived with the older car was a twenty-eight year veteran waiter. Now Rockwell had all the components in place and got down to work choreographing the photo shoot.
The dining car was somewhat narrow. The photos taken to compose the painting could not capture the waiter or the background in a single shot.
The photo session was taken during "the hottest day of the year," according to Peter Rockwell, who was chosen from four boys who had modeled for the role.
The postcard with a picture of a train on it, visible leaning against the wall, was included by Rockwell to show his appreciation for the efforts of the Railroad. The train was the company's pride and joy, the 20th Century Limited locomotive.
In addition the Saturday Evening Post credited the railroad in the caption for the painting. This was equivalent to $10,000 worth of free publicity for the New York Central railroad.

Canon EOS 70D
1/25s f/5.0 at 38.0mm iso400 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Jeff Real10-Feb-2019 14:41
This is my favorite. What you have captured here is absolutely mesmerizing!
Jim Coffman25-Sep-2015 16:30
Great image and great information! I love Norman Rockwell's work!
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