HISTORY OF THE HIGHLIGHTS INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR

History of the HIGHLIGHTS International Art Fair
 
1956–1988: German Art and Antiques Fair
 
Founded in 1956 by Otto Bernheimer, the Art and Antiques Fair was considered to be the leading event of its kind in Germany until it had to leave Munich’s Haus der Kunst in the late 1980s. Its subsequent move to the exhibition centre in Riem was unpopular with many dealers as well as with large sections of the visiting public. With no obvious alternative that would meet all the requirements, the organisers began a long search for a suitable location in central Munich.
 
2004: the “Munich Highlights” quality initiative
 
In 2004, Konrad O. Bernheimer and his Munich-based colleagues launched “Munich Highlights” as a quality initiative. It saw art dealers and galleries based around Odeonsplatz sharing their spaces with colleagues from other countries and inviting the public to take an “art walk” through central Munich. The concept met with such an enthusiastic response that the name “Highlights” was retained for the relaunched art fair.
 
2010–2012: relaunch and return to Haus der Kunst
 
In October 2010, the first HIGHLIGHTS International Art Fair took place at the old Haus der Kunst venue in central Munich. The relaunched fair won plaudits for its modern, pared-down exhibition design, German newspaper Die ZEIT writing: “Munich’s Highlights is Germany’s newest art fair and already it’s the best.”
Over the following years, HIGHLIGHTS was able to consolidate its reputation: “In its second year, this compact fair of international flair and exacting quality standards has confirmed its leading role among German art fairs.” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22nd October 2011)
In 2012, HIGHLIGHTS also held its first art seminars. These saw experts giving talks on topical art world issues – among them lawyer and art expert Professor Peter Raue, who spoke on the subject of the “Beltracchi scandal”.
 
2013: HIGHLIGHTS moves to Munich’s Residenz
 
In 2012, a strategic repositioning at Haus der Kunst meant the fair had to relocate once again. In the Bavarian Department of State-Owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes, HIGHLIGHTS directors Konrad O. Bernheimer and Georg Laue found the perfect hosts, with the result that, in 2013, the HIGHLIGHTS International Art Fair was able to move to the Kaiserhof courtyard of Munich’s Residenz and thus return to the cultural and historic heart of city. “HIGHLIGHTS makes the seemingly impossible happen: Germany’s finest art and antiques fair has pulled off a triumphant relocation to Munich’s Residenz, putting it right in the heart of the city.” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 9th November 2013)
 
2014: HIGHLIGHTS more glittering than ever
 
In 2014, HIGHLIGHTS worked with internationally renowned light and multimedia artist Philipp Geist to create a spectacular light installation. Visible from a distance, this illumination of the Residenz façade featured specially prepared video sequences that, despite the chilly weather, persuaded a great many passers-by to stop and take a closer look.
 
2015: partnership with the Florence Biennale
 
A number of guest dealers from the Biennale Internazionale dell’Antiquariato di Firenze made their HIGHLIGHTS debuts in 2015. Their presence marked the start of a long-term partnership between the leading German and Italian art fairs that had already seen HIGHLIGHTS dealers exhibiting in the Tuscan art capital that September.
“This partnership underlines our high ambitions. We were delighted to see such large crowds at the fair and in particular to attract so many young and international visitors,” commented HIGHLIGHTS director Konrad O. Bernheimer. The fair’s greater presence on social media was without doubt an important factor in that success.
 
2016: all set for the future
 
Last year’s HIGHLIGHTS took place from 26th to 30th October at Munich’s Residenz.
2016 also saw some changes in the HIGHLIGHTS management structure, with Konrad O. Bernheimer having been joined by new director Dr. Alexander Kunkel, 36, and the working group having gained five new members.

2017: the endless fascination of art

The 8th HIGHLIGHTS will take place from 25th to 29th October 2017 again at Munich's Residenz. In January 2017 Christian Eduard Franke-Landwers was appointed as new Co-Director next to Alexander Kunkel.
Furthermore a number of art dealers make their HIGHLIGHTS debuts such as Munich-based photography specialist Ira Stehmann, the Berlin-based Galerie Luzán as well as modernism expert Achim Hagemeier from Frankfurt am Main and Munich's Galerie Pfefferle. A major boost in historic art is the involvement of Senger Bamberg Kunsthandel.