Arthur B. Frost; his son, John Frost; (Joseph Bryant, New York), before 1945; (Harry Shaw Newman, New York), 1945; M. Michelotti; consigned 24 January 1946 to (M. Knoedler & Co., New York); purchased 18 February 1946 by (M. Knoedler & Co., New York); sold 15 January 1956 to (Babcock Galleries, New York); Joseph Katz, Baltimore and New York [d. 1958]; his estate, by 1961; his son, Leslie Katz, Brooklyn, by 1963; consigned 13 January 1964 to (M. Knoedler & Co., New York); sold 2 January 1965 to Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, Upperville, Virginia; gift 1985 to NGA.
- A Short Survey of American Painting, M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1951, unnumbered list.
- Thomas Eakins: A Retrospective, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Art Institute of Chicago; Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1961-1962, no. 32.
- The Portrayal of the Negro in American Painting, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine, 1964, no. 53.
- American Art from Alumni Collections, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, 1968, no. 98, repro.
- Gifts to the Nation: Selected Acquisitions from the Collections of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1986, unnumbered checklist
- Thomas Eakins Rediscovered, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1991-1992, no cat.
- Young America: Childhood in 19th-Century Art and Culture, Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; Portland (Maine) Museum of Art, 2006-2007, unnumbered catalogue, fig. 6.
- Goodrich, Lloyd. "Thomas Eakins, Realist." Pennsylvania Museum Bulletin 25 (March 1930): 21, no. 67, as Negro Boy Dancing.
- Kaplan, Sidney. "Notes on the Exhibition." In The Portrayal of the Negro in American Art. Exh. cat. Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine, 1964: unpaginated, no. 53.
- Kaplan, Sidney. "The Negro in the Art of Homer and Eakins." Massachusetts Review 7 (1966): repro. 116.
- Hoopes, Donelson F. Eakins Watercolors. New York, 1971: 44, repro. 48.
- Goodrich, Lloyd. Thomas Eakins. 2 vols. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1982: 1:repro. 111 (fig. 48).
- Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. Rev. ed. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1988: 130, repro.
- Honour, Hugh. The Image of the Black in Western Art. 4 vols. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1989: 4:189.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 166, repro.
- Kelly, Franklin, with Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., Deborah Chotner, and John Davis. American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part I. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 167-172, color repro.
The painting is on a plain-weave fabric that has been lined and covered with a white ground. X-radiography shows tack holes, indicating that after lining the painting was restretched onto a larger stretcher so that the painted edges could be made visible. The lower layers of paint were dry and were worked into the ground; upper layers consist of fluid paint worked wet-into-wet. The sketch was reworked by varnishing the lower layers and applying paint upon the varnish. Quadrant lines were incised into all the layers before the paint was completely dry, slightly breaking the paint. The painting is in good condition. Paint losses show where the painting was folded around the smaller stretcher. The abrasion at the top right appears to have been created by the artist. The varnish has not discolored.