lower left: WINSLOW HOMER / 1873
Joseph Harper, Jr., New York, in at least 1874; to his son, William Harper, New York; to his son, John Harper; by inheritance to his wife, Olive E. Harper [later Mrs. Grismer], Hollywood, California; (Pierre F. Nesi, Beverly Hills), in 1946; (Wildenstein & Co., New York), by at least 1948; purchased January 1954 by Paul Mellon [1907-1999], Upperville, Virginia; bequest 1999 to NGA, with life interest to Mrs. Mellon; life interest released 2001.
- Forty-Ninth Annual Exhibition, National Academy of Design, New York, 1874, no. 358.
- The Coast and the Sea: A Survey of American Marine Painting, Brooklyn Museum, 1948-1949, no. 58, repro., as Waiting for Dad.
- Master Painters, Des Moines Art Center, September-October 1951, no. 21, repro.
- Winslow Homer: Illustrator, 1860-1875, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts, February 1951, no. 23, as Waiting for Dad.
- Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings by Winslow Homer, 1836-1910, Allied Arts Association, Houston, 1952.
- Winslow Homer: A Retrospective Exhibition, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1958-1959, no. 28, as Waiting for Dad.
- Homer and the Sea: A Loan Exhibition of Marine Paintings of Winslow Homer, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Mariners Museum, Newport News, 1964, no. 7.
- American Art from Alumni Collections, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 1968, no. 104, repro., as Waiting for Dad.
- Winslow Homer, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Art Institute of Chicago, 1973, no. 22, repro.
- American Light: The Luminist Movement, 1850-1875, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980, unnumbered catalogue, fig. 177.
- Loan to display with permament collection in conjunction with an exhibition of Winslow Homer watercolors, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1986.
- Art for the Nation: Gifts in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1991, unnumbered catalogue, repro.
- Winslow Homer in the National Gallery of Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2005-2006, unnumbered brochure.
- Shipwreck! Winslow Homer and "The Life Line", Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2012.
- "Dad's Coming" (an engraving of the painting), Harper's Weekly (1 November 1873).
- Bolton, John. "The Art of Winslow Homer: an estimate in 1932." Fine Arts (February 1932): 53.
- Goodrich, Lloyd. Winslow Homer. New York, 1959: repro.
- Gardner, Albert Ten Eyck. Winslow Homer, American Artist: His World and His Work. New York, 1961: repro., as Waiting for Dad.
- Novak, Barbara. American Painting of the Nineteenth Century: Realism, Idealism, and the American Experience. 2nd ed. New York, 1979: 178, fig. 10-15. (3rd ed. Oxford, 2007: 150, plate 12.
- Wilmerding, John. "Winslow Homer's Dad's Coming." In Essays in Honor of Paul Mellon, Collector and Benefactor. Washington, D.C., 1986: 389-401, color repro. and fig. 1.
- Conrads, Margaret C. Winslow Homer and the Critics: Forging a National Art in the 1870s. Exh. cat. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Los Angeles Museum of Art; High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Princeton, 2001: 54-62, 221 n. 43, fig. 45.
- Goodrich, Lloyd, and Abigail Booth Gerdts. Record of Works by Winslow Homer, vol. 2. New York: Spanierman Gallery, 2005, no. 476.
- Foster, Kathleen A. "Shipwreck! Winslow Homer and 'The Life Line'." American Art Review 24, no. 6 (November-December 2012): 87, color repro.