He lost a lung, survived a near-fatal illness, and had a hip operation, but kept working, energized partly by disdain for his detractors. “I’m not going to let them disrupt my old age,” he said.
“I am an example of publicity — a great deal of it,” he also said. “I’m grateful because it gives me the freedom to go and try to do better. But I never had any great idea that these people are understanding what I’m doing. And they don’t.”
Wyeth added: “Let’s be sensible about this. I put a lot of things into my work which are very personal to me. So how can the public feel these things? I think most people get to my work through the back door. They’re attracted by the realism and they sense the emotion and the abstraction — and eventually, I hope, they get their own powerful emotion.”