Jacques-Louis Gautier (French, 1820–1900)
1853, cast later
Bronze with green and black patina
26 1/2 x 5 5/8 x 4 3/4 inches
Gift of Irene and Howard Stein
Jacques-Louis Gautier was a product of both the Salon system and the changing art market in nineteenth-century Paris. While he used the annual state-sponsored Salon as a venue to increase his visibility and enhance his reputation, he produced small, moderately priced works that were attractive to middle-class collectors. Mephistopheles was first exhibited in the Industrial Arts section of the 1855 Exposition Universelle, and a version of the work was acquired for Napoleon III. The elongated figure derived stylistically from such seventeenth-century artists as Callot and Bellange and appealed to the Romantic tendency toward macabre images.
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