The sentimentality in certain of Picasso's images from his Rose and Blue periods at the beginning of the twentieth century is unmistakable. It is also strategic. The Spanish painter had a native interest in emotive themes, especially those arising from the bohemia in which he was steeped in both Barcelona and Paris. 'The frugal repast' makes a powerful psychological appeal to the viewer. A thin-lipped woman of brittle demeanour and physique rests her head on a rigid hand as if it were a shelf. Her blind companion palpates her with fleshless fingers. The setting before them is as sparse as a desert landscape. For all this desolation, however, Picasso's self-consciously mannerist style makes it plain that this is not a slice of life but a work of art - a contrived one at that. Old Masters such as El Greco and Rosso Fiorentino were his models as much as the living ones Picasso doubtless observed.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999.
The frugal meal
Le repas frugal
ii of 2 states. From an edition of 250 on van Gelder paper
46.3 x 37.7 cm platemark; 64.4 x 50.6 cm sheet
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Winifred Vere Hole Bequest Fund 1994
© Pablo Picasso/ Succession Pablo Picasso. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Jul 1994–25 Sep 1994
Les Peintres Graveurs de Paris, Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Woollahra, 16 Aug 1994–10 Sep 1994
Great collections (2009):
Matisse and the moderns, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Apr 2015–25 Oct 2015
Referenced in 11 publications
Brigitte Baer, Picasso the printmaker: Graphics from the Marina Picasso Collection, 'Le Repas fugal and the Saltimbanques', pp 30–34, Unknown, 1983, pp 30–33.
Stephen Coppel, Picasso and Printmaking in Paris, 'Early Picasso and Matisse', London, 1998, pp 9–10.
Ebria Feinblatt, Picasso: 60 years of graphic works, Unknown, Sep 1966, p 18.
Renée Free, Look, 'Paris Blue', p 19, Heidelberg, Sep 1994, p 19, illus pp 3 (detail),19. The image appearing on page 3 is in detail.
Renée Free, Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1994, np, illus cover.
Renée Free, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pp 108–72., Sydney, 1994, p 144, illus p 144.
Bernhard Geiser and Brigitte Baer, Picasso peintre-graveur. Tome I. Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre gravé et lithographié et des monotypes 1899-1931, 1990, pp 18–20, no 2, illus p 20.
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Works on Paper', pg. 78-92, Sydney, 1999, p 86, illus p 86.
Marilyn McCully (Editor), Picasso: The early years, 1892-1906, '1904-1905 ', Milan, 1997, p 229.
John McPhee, Great collections, Sydney, 2008, p 97, col illus p 97.
Rex Irwin Art Dealer, Les peintres graveurs de Paris, Woollahra, 1994, illus np. no 19