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The Frugal Meal, from The Saltimbanques

Blue-green print of thin man and woman seated at table with empty plates and glasses.
© 2018 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • Blue-green print of thin man and woman seated at table with empty plates and glasses.

Date:

September 1904

Artist:

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973)
printed by Eugène Delâtre (French, 1864-1938)

About this artwork

Pablo Picasso’s remarkable career spanned more than seven decades and influenced nearly every major artistic trend in the first half of the twentieth century. This large, haunting etching, The Frugal Meal, was one of the last works of his Blue Period (1901–4), a time when the struggling artist’s palette was dominated by the color blue, then symbolically associated with melancholy—the mood in which he portrayed his array of poor, ill, and outcast characters. Completed just after Picasso settled permanently in France, moving into a dilapidated Montmartre tenement nicknamed the Bateau-Lavoir, or “Washerwoman’s Boat,” this austere etching brings together two subjects that fascinated him—couples in cafés and the experience of the blind—with a high degree of refinement. The man’s emaciated face is in profile, while the woman stares directly at the viewer, emphasizing her companion’s blindness. The angular bodies and elongated fingers of the two figures reflect the scarcity of both their meal and their means. The Frugal Meal, which was only Picasso’s second attempt at printmaking, reveals the artist’s extraordinary gift for draftsmanship and his remarkable facility with new media and techniques.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Prints and Drawings

Artist

Pablo Picasso

Title

The Frugal Meal, from The Saltimbanques

Origin

Spain

Date

1904

Medium

Etching on zinc in blue-green on ivory laid paper (discolored to cream)

Dimensions

480 × 380 mm (image/plate); 575 × 438 mm (sheet)

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection

Reference Number

1963.825

Copyright

© 2018 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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