Following recent moves by European museums to return African art treasures to Nigeria, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announced that it is sending three objects back to the country.
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that two bronze plaques that left the country under 'unclear circumstances' and a life-like sculpted head will be returned to Nigeria.
in 1991, Klaus Perls said:"I started buying African art simply because I liked to see it together with the works of the Picasso generation of artists in which I specialized as a dealer. Soon, however, my predilection for Benin art asserted itself, and it became the only kind of African art I continued to buy, until, quite unnoticed, it developed into a collection."
According to the museum, the plaques were taken in 1897 from the Benin Royal Palace, in present-day Nigeria, by British military forces and then entered the British Museum's collection. Around 1950 or 1951, the London institution transferred them with 24 other items to the National Museum in Lagos.
The works were somehow removed from that museum"at an unknown date and under unclear circumstances," the Met said in a press release, and were sold on the international art market, where they were acquired by Perls. Both plaques have now been deaccessioned by the Met. headtopics.com
http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/316484Credit:Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe brass"Ife Head," meanwhile, was offered to the museum for purchase by a collector whom the Met did not identify. The 14th-century work originally came from the Wunmonije Compound near the royal palace in Ife. In 1938, a cache of realistically carved portrait heads created by the Yoruba people were discovered in a construction project at the site, and while most went to the National Museum of Ife, several were
takenout of the country, leading the Nigerian government to more tightly control the export of antiquities.According to the Met, the individual who offered the head"had been under the misapprehension that legal title to the work had been granted by the NCMM." Inquiries made by the museum proved otherwise, it added, and the Met"arranged with the seller and their agent for the 'Ife Head' to return to its rightful home."Read more: CNN »
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