It is characteristic of the work that the group of artists who congregated there were producing, featuring bold application of pure colour, flat, pattern like compositions, abstracted forms, and often a symbolist theme.
The area, in the summer, was a cheap and pleasant alternative to the city.
The surrounding countryside featured inspiring scenery and it became a haven for bohemians and an artistic fraternity who developed a new style distinct from both the Academic tradition and Impressionism. Gauguin and Emile Bernard two of the most influential artists to frequent the area had a fruitful interchange of ideas.
Bernard, the younger man, is generally credited with inspiring Gauguin's new direction.
This was Synthetism, a style which went beyond mere representation to infuse the subject with elements of the artist’s sensibility, memory and feeling.
Gauguin felt that subject should not just be restricted to what the eye saw: true art should look beyond mere appearance. To express their vision they favored pure colour and distorted perspective or flat forms which approached abstraction.
Gauguin’s landscapes of this period, in line with his later Tahitian paintings, are infused with a primitive, pure atmosphere, a hyper reality where the lush vegetation becomes a mystical evocation of Eden.
In this picture the houses in the middle distance, to which the Breton girls are descending, seem to be an integral product of the land, as if they had sprung from the ground itself.
The harmony of the whole is carefully balanced by the use of complementary reds among the swathes of green, and the use of sharp perpendicular lines in the tree stems to break up the predominant curvilinear forms of the undulating hillside.
These Breton landscapes, often featuring girls in traditional dress, are a precursor to Gauguin’s later bold primitivistic Tahitian paintings.