The bust is based on a very well known sculpture by Mark Antokolskii representing a seated figure of Mephistopheles created in 1883, now in the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg (inventory number Sk-454), for which the literary source 'Faust' by Goethe was the inspiration. Being one of the sculptor's most popular creations, versions of busts of Mephistopheles were made in bronze and marble, among them the present example.
(E.V. Kuznetsov M.M. Antokolskii Life and work, Moscow, 1989, pp.140-147, plates 60-64.)
For further details on the artist see lot 14 in this catalogue.
For a bronze figure of Mephistopheles on a marble base see Christie's London, 22 October, 1987, lot 154.