Painted in 1996, J.Y.M. Seated II is one of Auerbach's final portraits of J.Y.M., dating from the end of the four decade long collaboration between artist and sitter. This picture shows her from a greater distance than some of the earlier works such as Head of J.Y.M.. Here, she is observed sitting side-on in a chair. There is an almost hieroglyphic and calligraphic cohesion to the way that the forms coalesce to convey the image: this profile image has been captured with the frenetically zig-zagging brushwork for which Auerbach is so renowned. The palette has escaped the earlier limitations of black, white and earth colours, and indeed there are even areas that are evocative of flesh tones. Auerbach has condensed a great deal of visual and experiential information into this work, creating an incredibly charged and intense image that, like its predecessors, provides the viewer a jolt in terms of both sight and sensation.
Catherine Lampert has explained that Juliet Yardley Mills would travel twice a week, for her Wednesday and Sunday sittings, traversing London and changing bus twice in order to arrive at Auerbach's studio. She had begun to sit for him in the 1950s, and ended only the year after J.Y.M. Seated II was painted. 'We had a wonderful relationship because I thought the world of him and he was very fond of me,' she recalled. 'There was no sort of romance but we were close. Real friends. Sundays now I'm always miserable' (Auerbach, quoted in C. Lampert, N. Rosenthal & I. Carlisle (ed.), Frank Auerbach Paintings and Drawings 1954-2001, exh.cat., London, 2001, p. 26). It is that build-up of friendship, which has grown over four decades, that is apparent in the build-up of oils on the surface of J.Y.M. Seated II.