Reviewing the Salon of 1890 in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Maurice Albert praised La jeune Fille de Bou-Saada for its 'sentiment si delicat, d'une originalité si pittoresque, d'une poésie si penetrante et si melancolique' (op. cit.).
Barrias's charming figure of the Jeune Fille de Bou-Saada was inspired by a painting by Achille Guillaumet entitled La Cardeuse de Laine de Bou-Saada of 1885 (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouert). Guillaumet was a great friend of the sculptor and when he died in 1887 Barrias placed a cast of his Jeune Fille de Bou-Saada on the sculptor's tomb in Monmartre.
La Jeune Fille de Bou-Saada was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1890 as a wax model and later at the Exposition centennale in 1900. Barrias has given his figure a far greater Romanticism than the humble realism of Guillaumet; while the painter shows the girl in a dejected mood in a plain shawl, the sculptor dresses his subject in fine clothes and ornaments. The pose of the cross-legged girl also recalls Barrias' early figure of La Jeune Fille de Megare. Executed in Rome in 1870 at the end of his Prix de Rome sojourn, it shows a semi-nude girl spinning. The marble is in the Musée d'Orsay.
The Susse foundry offered the model in various sizes and degrees of elaboration. There is a marble and bronze example in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. The present cast has a particularly subtle mixed colour patina.