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The frugal repast



Pablo Picasso

Spain, France

25 Oct 1881 - 08 Apr 1973


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.


Other Title

The frugal meal

Alternative title

Le repas frugal



Media category


Materials used



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


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Pablo Picasso

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 11 publications


Stephen Coppel, Picasso and Printmaking in Paris, 'Early Picasso and Matisse', London, 1998, pp 9–10.

Renée Free, AGNSW Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pp 108–72., Sydney, 1994, p 144, illus p 144.

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.

Modernism 1900-1950: prints and drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1994, np, illus cover.

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Works on Paper', pg. 78-92, Sydney, 1999, p 86, illus p 86.

Great collections, Sydney, 2008, p 97, col illus p 97.

Les peintres graveurs de Paris, Woollahra, 1994, illus np. no 19

Unknown and Unknown, 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.

Unknown, Picasso the printmaker: Graphics from the Marina Picasso Collection, 'Le Repas fugal and the Saltimbanques', pp 30–34, Unknown, 1983, pp 30–33.

Unknown, Picasso: 60 years of graphic works, Unknown, Sep 1966, p 18.

Unknown (Editor), Picasso: The early years, 1892-1906, '1904-1905 ', Milan, 1997, p 229.