From Oscar Wilde’s The Decay of Lying: An Observation:
Art creates an incomparable and unique effect, and, having done so, passes on to other things. Nature, upon the other hand, forgetting that imitation can be made the sincerest form of insult, keeps on repeating this effect until we all become absolutely wearied of it. Nobody of any real culture, for instance, ever talks nowadays about the beauty of a sunset. Sunsets are quite old-fashioned. They belong to the time when Turner was the last note in art. To admire them is a distinct sign of provincialism of temperament. Upon the other hand they go on. Yesterday evening Mrs. Arundel insisted on my going to the window, and looking at the glorious sky, as she called it. Of course I had to look at it. She is one of those absurdly pretty Philistines to whom one can deny nothing. And what was it? It was simply a very second-rate Turner, a Turner of a bad period, with all the painter’s worst faults exaggerated and over- emphasised.
This passage is better known for the Turner quip but I more enjoy Wilde’s stumbling directly onto what I always find his own artistic and intellectual failing – “Art creates an incomparable and unique effect, and, having done so, passes on to other things. [Wilde]…. keeps on repeating this effect until we all become absolutely wearied of it.”