Many critics have noted that photography rendered realistic painting redundant, to some extent. Especially in its documentary function.
While I am no fan of modern art, and a great fan of, say the Dutch masters who are the most literal of painters, it is true that, by the mid-19th century (and, obviously, always) there was a whole lot of really bad realistic art out there. Try going through the galleries of those mid-western museums that exist because some robber baron assembled a trove of third rate paintings and wanted to share them with all of Detroit, or wherever. Swirling particles of color start to look refreshing….