The typical style of the School of Pont-Aven is referred to as Cloisonism. Émile Bernard and Louis Anquetin were the first to paint in this style, and Paul Gauguin was also soon enthused by it. Cloisonism turns against the analytic fragmentation of reality, as in Pointilism and Divisionism, and must be seen as a formal counterpart to Synthetism. The name was coined by the art critic Edouard Dujardin in an article in the magazine "Revue Indépendante" in 1888, and originates from the technique employed for enamel works (Cloisonné), in which glass streams in various colors are applied to a grid of metal fillets.
The use of forms by the Pont-Aven artists had a similar effect as the enamel works that were made in this technique. The painters separated large, lucent and unmixed color fields with broad and dark outlines, creating plane ornamental compositions, their rhythm determined by the swung outlines and the color contrasts. Medieval windows consisting of monochrome lead fitted glass are an important model for this style. Their lucent colors can also be found in Cloisonism. Japanese woodcuts, that counted among the greatest innovations for European art around 1900, were important sources of inspiration, for instance in terms of the importance of the outline and the expressive forces of swung ornaments.