The Victorian artists were admittedly excessive in their devotion to the formal precepts of the academies of art, but twentieth century reactionaries were equally outre, going off in all directions,and sometimes tumbling into the chasm of chaos. Excess of any sort is always avant garde at the beginning but is rarely without precedent! "Art movements have a way of repeating themselves since artists are mortal and memory of the past is collectively short. "Outrageous" necessarily succumbs to "commonplace".
Scholastics have always had a desire to rule the roost, which explains why art schools are usually in turmoil concerning what should be taught and how. Commenting on this fact Willem de Kooning said, "The group instinct could be a good idea, but there is always some little dictator who wants to make his instinct the group instinct."
De Kooning was abstract expressionisms most influential painter from his first one-man exhibition in 1948. Today there is more of a divide between figurative painters and his followers, but this was not always so. In 1951 he expressed this opinion: "There is no style in painting now. There are as many naturalists among the abstract painters as there are abstract painters in the so-called subject-matter school."