Alice Neel, American, 1900 - 1984
Last Sickness is one of only four portraits that Alice Neel painted of her mother, Alice Concross Hartley Neel. Mrs. Neel lived most of her life in Colwyn, Pennsylvania, where Alice was born and raised. This painting was made a few months before her death, while she was staying at her daughter's home in New York. Although the sitter is too worn out to try to look cheerful, the artist deftly captures the intelligent sparkle in her mother's eyes and her skeptical curiosity in the face of this peculiar encounter between mother and daughter.