The present work was an illustration used for Scribner's publication of The Yearling by Marjorie K. Rawlings. Julia Scribner, daughter of publisher Charles Scribner and the first owner of this painting, was the editor for The Yearling and remained a close friend of the author and remained her editor for many subsequent projects.
The Dance of the Whooping Cranes demonstrates N.C. Wyeth's pictorial narrative ability while further displaying his artistic breadth. Indeed, "his color is rich, warm, and freshly harmonious. He has an extraordinary skill at capturing the quality of light itself...with an almost offhand delight in its mastery...There is substance to his forms and reality to his objects. And in the moods in which these components are brought together is an unstated spiritual quality which sets us to thinking that with all his remarkable power and command of his craft, he was always...seeking to say more than could meet the eye." (P. Hogan in D. Allen and D. Allen, Jr., N.C. Wyeth: The Collected Paintings, Illustrations, and Murals, New York, 1972, pp. 11-12)
This painting is included in the N.C. Wyeth catalogue raisonné database that is being compiled by the Brandywine River Museum and Conservancy, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.