The remarkable artistic career of Pablo Picasso spanned more than seven decades and influenced nearly every major trend in the first half of the twentieth century. One of the last works of Picasso’s Blue Period (1901–4), this large, hauntingly expressive etching was completed just after the artist settled permanently in France and moved into a dilapidated Montmartre tenement nicknamed the Bateau-Lavoir (“washerwoman’s boat”). During this time, the struggling artist’s palette and the mood of his particular cast of characters—the poor, ill, and outcast—were dominated by the color blue, then symbolically associated with melancholy. In this austere etching, two subjects that fascinated Picasso—couples in cafés and the solitude of the blind—are brought to refinement. The man’s emaciated face is in profile, while the woman stares directly at the viewer, emphasizing the blindness of her companion. Their angular bodies and elongated fingers and the chalky, cold light recall works by El Greco. 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.