[The Lower Depths (Les Bas-Fonds), The Diary of a Chambermaid, and Picnic on the Grass] possess an incredible richness of idea and imagination, partly because of their strangeness. If Renoir's art were wholly a function of its thematic complexity … I'd have to put them among the glories of his career. But I am not persuaded that such complexity is always greatness, though it is a great boon to essay writers, or that there is so much foolishness in the vulgar common view that celebrates Renoir the populist realist or the nature-loving son of his famous father. That view isn't false; it is merely incomplete. (p. 22)
Renoir's realism follows several different lines. Some of it belongs to...
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