Yes, i am familiar with this Dali quote and I believe that wile he was extremely talented, he was a bit full of himself but by default. With the world lauding him and his work how else could he not think of him self. Picasso had the same thing happen to him. As our world shrinks with technology this aspect will only grow.
I have a friend who is an Alexander The Great Scholar and he was shocked with the “uncoverings” recently about the mans personal life. I believe the older archeologists had a very formed view of life at their present and did not think ti delve into the realities of what might have been in the past. Certain sexual aspects where simply taboo to even think of. So I cannot say it was due to not having good masters, but rather masters with a view that might have been driven by their own times.
Yes, every era has good and bad art. I believe in being my own critic and do not necessarily followed someone’s opinion the carries that label. If I like it then it is good, but that does not mean that if I do not like it, it is bad. A reaction is something and needs to be thought of as than opinion. A reaction means that the artist probably succeeded in some way.
When it come stop purchasing art I am not one to do so because of a price tag or name. If I need a piece the cost is irrelevant insofar as to what my pocket can handle. And if I must have, I will find a way. More often than not the pieces that lure me are by unknown artists and because these pieces make me think, they are priceless.