Bernard first studied under the academic painter Cormon where his fellow students included Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec, as well as Louis Anquetin, with whom he developed the use of flat areas of colour within strong outlines. This style greatly influenced Gauguin, whom Bernard first met in 1886. Although initially close, Bernard and Gauguin quarreled over stylistic originality and the relationship soured. The definitive split came in 1891. Thereafter Bernard exhibited widely; at the Salon des Indépendants, with the Nabis at Le Barc de Bouteville and at the Salon de la Rose + Croix. In addition to visiting Italy, Greece and the Near East, he settled for a time in Cairo. His later work embodied an expressive classicism, inspired by the Old Masters.