Germany’s advisory commission recommended the work be returned even though it was sold “outside of the National Socialist sphere of influence.”
The Edo Museum of West African Art in Benin City is being considered as a future home for the returned artifacts.
The looted status of the stele has been well documented since the 1980s, but it wasn’t until this year that the FBI and Dallas Museum of Art collaborated to return the religious artifact.
Germany’s advisory commission on Nazi-looted art also recommended the return of a painting by Erich Heckel to the heirs of Jewish journalist Max Fischer.
The remaining work was returned by the estate of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of an art dealer who built a private collection in the process of helping the Nazis sell stolen art.
The National Institute for Anthropology and History in Mexico says 30 objects in the sale belong to the country’s national patrimony, and three others are fake.
After Divya Mehra uncovered the colonial history behind a misidentified 18th-century statue, the Mackenzie Art Gallery repatriated it and acquired Mehra’s work about the figure in its stead.
How better to illustrate the inadequacy of current restitution efforts than to offer up as tribute an object by one of Germany’s most famous artists, who thought art could bring about transformative social change?
Meanwhile, a new report commissioned by the Dutch culture minister suggests the return of “any cultural objects looted in former Dutch colonies if the source country so requests.”
Four activists were fined for their live-streamed protest at the Paris museum, in which Mwazulu Diyabanza removed a 19th-century funerary post from its display.
Also, a work by Paolo Uccello, sold in a Sotheby’s sale this July for $3.1 million, was revealed to be looted by Nazis.
The transaction illuminates the role individuals can play in rectifying Europe’s history of colonial plunder, but it also reveals the inner workings of a system that allows such objects to land in private hands to begin with.