The painting shows a young woman looking over her shoulder towards the viewer; behind her we see an old wooden fence and an isolated tree. Most of the viewer’s attention is directed towards the bright background, which the hazy light has dissolved into unrecognisability.
Despite its already small size, Kobilca opted to crop this painting; compared to the surviving uncropped study, it is lacking the goose girl’s skirt and the stick she is holding behind her back. The work may be classified among the painter’s other limited stylistic experiments, in which on the one hand she evidently wished to move closer to Impressionism, while on the other retaining the elements of the European naturalism, which, with the paintings Summer, Under a Pergola and Children in the Grass a decade earlier, represented the pinnacle of her achievements. Kobilca had already used this restless brushwork and “smearing” in her Paris studies, and was likewise capable of surprisingly diverse styles of painting, so The Goose Girl strengthens the hypothesis that hidden among the plein air/Impressionist works attributed to Kobilca’s pupils in Sarajevo there may be some unusual work by Kobilca herself.
Kobilca painted the work while living in Sarajevo between 1897 and 1905, far from the epicentres of European art; in compositional terms, it is similar to The Goose-girl by Henry Bacon, which Kobilca could have seen at the Salon des artistes français in Paris in 1893 when she was still living in the French capital.