Bronze plaques depicting a junior court official (left) and warrior chief were removed from the Royal Palace of Benin in 1897 by the British military

The Benin Court plaques donated in 1991 with more than 150 other works, have been deaccessioned, while a third object, an Ife Head offered for purchase, will instead be restituted 

Following recent moves by European museums to return African art treasures to Nigeria, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announced today that it is sending three objects back to the country. Two of the works, a pair of 16th-century Benin Court brass plaques of a Warrior Chief and Junior Court Official, were donated to the museum in 1991 by the Modern art dealer Klaus Perls and his wife Dolly, while the third, a 14th-century Ife Head, was recently offered to the museum for purchase by another collector.
The museum decided to return the works after conducting research in collaboration with the British Museum, with input from the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM). The two plaques had been part of a 153-piece collection of African royal treasures given to the museum by the Perlses 30 years ago that included bronze figures, carved elephant ivory, masks, jewellery and musical instruments. Explaining his interest in this work, Klaus Perls said at the time: "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."

Source : @theartnewspaper.official