Lot 85

Oloff de Wet, Hugh 1912-1975 British, Ezra Pound


Oloff de Wet, Hugh 1912-1975 British, Ezra Pound. 4.7 ins. High (11.5 cms.), Plaster, Signed Oloff on the base. Oliver Cox writing in the booklet Ezra Pound, containing poems by Ezra Pound chosen by Oliver Cox and published by the Greville Press, wrote as follows: ''In Rapallo we took rooms in a small hotel which Ezra Pound passed daily on his way for a swim. He would call in: said little but always very much to the point, as Hugh Oloff de Wet made sketch after sketch. A German television crew doing a programme about Ezra Pound invited me to join him at an al fresco luncheon. That was in August 1965. After a few days de Wet shut himself off, refusing to see anyone and having meals sent in. He emerged three days later with a clay 'nut', now at Texas University, of which he made several miniature replicas using an unique shrinkage technique.'' Our small bust of Ezra is one of those that Oliver Cox described. Oloff de Wet had an unusual life. He was a pilot in the Spanish Civil War, and later a spy in Prague before the start of the second World War. He was captured by the Gestapo and held in custody for about 18 months before being brought to trial, convicted and sentenced to death. He tried to escape on several occasions but failed. His Russian wife was captured but committed suicide to save him. He spent two years in a straight jacket and was brutally tortured. He managed to survive and died in 1975. He wrote a very moving account of waiting to be taken to his rendezvous with death in his prison camp, The Valley of the Shadow, Death Row.

Auction Date: December 2018


£60 - £90

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