Skip to main content
Go to accessibility options


    PABLO PICASSO (Spanish, 1881-1973)
    Le Repas Frugal (from La Suite des Saltimbanques), 1904
    Etching on Van Gelder Zonen wove paper
    17-7/8 x 14-1/2 inches (45.4 x 36.8 cm)
    From the edition of 250
    Published by Ambroise Vollard, Paris

    Private collection, Indiana

    Bloch, 1
    Geiser/Baer 2.II.b

    In 1904, at the age of twenty-two, Picasso had just begun to experiment with the medium of printmaking when he undertook what was to be one of the most indelible images of his long and influential artistic career. The technical expertise of Picasso as a draftsman is strikingly evident in the line quality and compositional choices that he makes in this remarkable first attempt at an etching.

    The large-format zinc plate of Le Repas Frugal had previously been used by the artist Joan Gonzalez, elder brother of the sculptor Julio. And even though Picasso had scraped the plate clean, remnants of reeds, water and rocks provide a delightful texture to the background of the composition, particularly at the top and along the right-hand side.

    These details are even more visible with the steel-plate reinforcement of the second printing in 1913, a technique used to prolong the use of the plate for multiple printings. Along with the technical changes made to the plate, Picasso chose to briefly revisit the composition, adding definition to the man's arm and some hatching to the background. The Parisian art dealer Ambroise Vollard then published the engraving along with fourteen others, commonly known as the Suite des Saltimbanques (although one plate was damaged and hence the majority of the proofs destroyed).

    The angular couple depicted is engaged in a somewhat tenuous embrace as their gazes point away from one another. Their body language informs the viewer more about solitude and estrangement, rather than the communal warmth of a shared meal. The tangle of their wiry arms and shoulders leads us into the folds of their clothes and then down into the lines of the tablecloth. The simple accoutrements of the wine bottle and glasses, plate and bread that lie upon the table may reference the genre of the still life and the café culture of the previous decades, while at the same directing our gaze back to the figures, absorbed in their loneliness.

    More information about PABLO PICASSO, also known as Picasso, Pablo, Pablo Picasso, Picasso, Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Crispín Crispiniano de la Santissima Trinidad Ruiz Blasco, Picasso, Pablo Ruiz.

    Condition Report*: The black ink is in stable condition throughout; the verso is covered with adhesive in what is possibly rubber cement; three minor handling creases in lower center quadrant, only visible under magnification and raking light; slightly irregular trim along right edge; paper is cockled in lower right corner due to water contact, as well as slight discoloration along lower right edge; tiny stain in tablecloth approx. 6 inches from lower edge and 7 inches from the right edge; planar distortions throughout.  The mat is adhered on top of the print along the top edge with pressure sensitive adhesive; minor abrasions on verso due to a previous attempt to dismount the print; small loss from primary paper support in lower left corner.  Otherwise, the art appears to be in overall good condition.  Sheet size: 24 x 20 inches. Framed Dimensions 32.75 X 29.5 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2014
    8th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 7,467

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold on Nov 8, 2014 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2022 May 17 Silver & Vertu Signature® Auction .

    Learn about consigning with us

    I look forward to several future consignments with Heritage and with your continued guidance and expertise.
    William Levin, M.D.,
    Beverly Hills, CA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search