The Dancing Lesson

Artist: Thomas Eakins (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1844–1916 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Date: 1878

Medium: Watercolor on off-white wove paper

Dimensions: 18 1/16 x 22 9/16 in. (45.9 x 57.3 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1925

Accession Number: 25.97.1


This watercolor shows three male figures of different generations playing and responding to music. A framed copy of the famous photograph of Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad suggests the figures' familial relationships and emphasizes their emancipation. This watercolor gained Eakins his first award—a silver medal—at the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association exhibition in Boston in 1878.