Little Girl Observing Lovers on a Train

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Little Girl Observing Lovers on a Train

Little Girl Observing Lovers on a Train, also known as Travel Experience or Voyeur, is a painting by American illustrator Norman Rockwell. It was originally created for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on 12 August 1944.


Rockwell came up with the idea for the painting when traveling by train with servicemen and their families.[1] The models posed for the reference photos in an unused rail car on a siding of the Rutland Railway. Rockwell was displeased with the area around the heads of the couple in his sketch that led to the final painting and covered the area with an additional sheet of paper to get the couple's pose right.[1]


Little Girl Observing Lovers on a Train depicts a crowded passenger train car. A young faceless couple can be seen cuddling in one of the seats; their heads are together and their legs are intertwined on top of some luggage in the seat facing directly in front of them.[2] The man's Army Air Force jacket hangs above the couple. The focus point of the painting is a six-year-old girl in the seat in front of the couple who is next to her mother. Unnoticed by the pair, she is kneeling on her seat and watching them.[3] She appears to be uninterested in the intimate moment.[4] The arm of the conductor, with a ticket in hand, can be seen in the background. The "Dixie Cup" hat of a United States Navy Sailor and the hair of his partner can be seen in the seat behind the couple.

Popular-art historian Christopher Finch found the painting to be a good example of Rockwell's matured style and compared the painting to a Henri Cartier-Bresson photo.[5] The pencil sketch for this painting is in the personal collection of George Lucas and was included in fellow filmmaker Steven Spielberg's and his 2010 show at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.[6][1]


  1. ^ a b c Mecklenburg, Virginia; Spielberg, Steven; Lucas, George (26 July 2010). Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Event occurs at 18:23. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  2. ^ Ciabattari, Mark (2008). Social History of the United States: The 1940s. Social History of the United States. Vol. 5. ABC-CLIO. p. 249. ISBN 978-1-59884-128-2.
  3. ^ Halpern, Richard (2006). Norman Rockwell: The Underside of Innocence. University of Chicago Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-226-31440-2.
  4. ^ King, Claire Sisco (2016). "American Queerer: Norman Rockwell and the Art of Queer Feminist Critique". Women's Studies in Communication. 39 (2): 157–176. doi:10.1080/07491409.2016.1165778. S2CID 146889682.
  5. ^ Finch, Christopher (2013). Norman Rockwell's : 332 Magazine Covers (Kindle ed.). New York: Abbeville Press. p. Location 2473. ISBN 978-0789204097.
  6. ^ Duin, Steve (10 January 2020). "Norman Rockwell: George Lucas and Steven Spielberg open their vaults". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on 23 May 2020. Retrieved 19 April 2020.

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