Witch from Macbeth
Jacques-Louis Gautier was a product both of the Salon system and the changing art market of nineteenth-century Paris. While he used the annual state-sponsored Salon as a venue to increase his visibility and enhance his reputation, he also produced small, moderately priced works that were attractive to middle-class collectors.
For the subjects of these two sculptures—Mephistopheles and the Witch—Gautier borrowed from two of the most popular pieces of literature during the Romantic period: Goethe’s Faust and Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The elongated figures appealed to a Romantic taste for the macabre.