Emile Guillemin made his debut at the Salon in 1870, later winning an Honorable Mention for sculpture in 1897. Although his oeuvre included a wide range of subjects, Guillemin specialised in exotic racial types and is renowned as a proponent of the Orientalist movement.
The present model, first exhibited at the Salon of 1879, (no. 5083 Jeune fille kurde - type de l'Asie Mineure) is an example of the finely-detailed polychrome sculptures for which Guillemin is best known. A controversial genre when revived in the 1850s, polychromy became increasingly fashionable in the 1860s, eventually meriting it's own class at the Salons and International Expositions.