Baer records four trial proofs and five dedicated impressions printed by Delâtre in 1904-05, the earliest impression bearing a dedication to Junyent and dated September 1904. She suggests that there may have been around thirty impressions in this printing, some of which were signed or numbered and a number of which bear dedications.
Picasso had executed only one etching prior to Le Repas frugal: in 1899 he produced El Zurdo under the guidance of Ricardo Canals. Canals was also in Paris in 1904 and may have encouraged Picasso in the production of the present plate. The zinc plate had been used before, by another artist, and traces of landscape can be discerned at the upper right, although these tend to show more prominently in the impressions from the steel faced edition published by Vollard in 1913.
The plate was printed by the master-printer Eugene Delâtre who also printed the fourteen other La Suite des Saltimbanques in 1905 in correspondingly small editions for Clovis Sagot and Père Soulier, some of which have been exhibited at the Galleries Serrurier, Transchel, Gerardin et Picasso, February 25th-March 6th, 1905.