lower left, WMH in monogram: WMHARNETT. / 1882 
 Alfred Frankenstein, who found the painting in 1942, recorded the signature as "W.M. Harnett, München, 1882." in a letter to his mother describing his find (see Provenance for the painting).
Purchased 1942 by Alfred Frankenstein [1906-1981], San Francisco; purchased 1943 by (Arnold Seligman & Rey, New York); (sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 23-24 May 1951, no. 593); puchased by H. Turner. George Morris and Edwin Weldon, Weston, Connecticut; on consignment 1970 with (Hirschl & Adler Galeries, New York); returned to Morris and Weldon; consigned May 1975 to (Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York); purchased 1977 by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; acquired 2014 by the National Gallery of Art.
- The American Experience, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, 27 October - 27 November 1976, no. 50, repro.
- The Object as Subject: Still Lifes at the Corcoran, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 10 December 1978 - 4 February 1979, unpublished checklist.
- Acquisitions Since 1975, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 5 November 1982 - 16 January 1983, unpublished checklist.
- More than Meets the Eye: The Art of Trompe l'Oeil, Columbus Museum of Art; Norton Gallery and School of Art, Palm Beach; 1985-1986, no. 45.
- William M. Harnett, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1992-1993, no. 25.
- America: The New World in 19th Century Painting, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, 17 March - 20 June 1999, no. 89.
- Deceptions and Illusions: Five Centuries of Trompe l'Oeil Painting, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2002-2003, no. 22.
- Encouraging American Genius: Master Paintings from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte; John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, 2005-2007, checklist no. 50.
- The American Evolution: A History through Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 1 March - 27 July 2008, unpublished checklist.
- Inganni ad arte, Meraviglie del Trompe-l'oeil dall'antichita al contemporaneo, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 16 October 2009 - 24 January 2010.
- Deceptions and Illusions: Five Centuries of Trompe l'Oeil Painting. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2002-2003: no. 22.
- Staiti, Paul. " William Michael Harnett, Plucked Clean." In Corcoran Gallery of Art: American Paintings to 1945. Edited by Sarah Cash. Washington, 2011: 158-159, 270, repro.