Sharp was very busy during the summer of 1900. He decided on his first broad tour of the Northern Plains to include stops at the Cheyenne Reservation in Montana and the Sioux Reservation at Pine Ridge, South Dakota, in addition to Crow Agency. This portrait of Last Woman was painted at Pine Ridge.
Despite the sketchy quality of this portrait, Sharp considered it a finished work. It found a place in his several assemblages of western portraits in 1900 and 1901, including showings at the Cincinnati Museum, Detroit Art Museum, the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY, and the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. In the catalogues it was listed as Last Woman, Typical Sioux Squaw, and in the Cosmos Club catalogue, this version of Last Woman’s portrait was illustrated.
Among 84 other portraits, this painting was part of the Cincinnati Museum's 1900 exhibition known as Indian Portraits Painted from Life by Mr. J. H. Sharp. Collectively, the representations were regarded as “a highly important record of Indian types.” (Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, 10/1900, Sharp Papers) It had not been since the 1840s and 1850s, when George Catlin and John Mix Stanley presented their vast Indian Galleries to American audiences, that the public had enjoyed such a broad spectrum of art focused on Native people of the West.
Peter H. Hassrick