This work has a literally ultimate switching function in Permeke's oeuvre. The reason for the painting was the death of his wife Marietje on May 3, 1948. Throughout his life as a painter, Permeke was close to his wife, who he regularly portrayed or performed in paintings with their family. Her death meant for him the farewell of his artist's life. The emotional tension of weeklong waking in his wife's sick bed discharged itself in this last capital work of the artist. He closed his career with expressionist serenity. He died four years later.