HIGHLIGHTS, Munich’s Masters-Focused Fair, Is Celebrating 10 Years. Here’s What to Expect

Juana Schwan, the fair's director, tells us what to expect from 2019 edition.

Courtesy of HIGHLIGHTS Internationale Kunstmesse München / Hendrik Steffens.
Courtesy of HIGHLIGHTS Internationale Kunstmesse München / Hendrik Steffens.

In its 10th year HIGHLIGHTS International Art Fair in Munich, which bills itself as the most refined art fair in Germany, is returning with plans to live up to the mighty length of its name. Though the 51-exhibitor fair may be associated with antique furniture and opulent still lifes, it’s not just Old Masters these days either—a fair share of the dealers today are showing modern and contemporary masters.

Juana Shawn, the director of HIGHLIGHTS International Art Fair Munich.

Juana Shawn, the director of HIGHLIGHTS International Art Fair Munich.

Held once again in the Munich Residenz, the former home of Bavaria’s royalty, the 2019 edition of the fair will also have plenty of bells and whistles to mark the celebratory year.

Juana Schwan, the director of the fair, shared her thoughts on what’s special about this year’s event and what visitors should do while in Munich. 

Courtesy of HIGHLIGHTS Internationale Kunstmesse München / Hendrik Steffens.

Courtesy of HIGHLIGHTS Internationale Kunstmesse München / Hendrik Steffens, 2018.

On Celebrating Its 10th Anniversary

“We’re very happy to be celebrating our 10th anniversary. Old Master painting and ancient art can be tough in the art market, and we’ve managed to be successful. We were founded by 19 art dealers in 2009 and half of them will be exhibiting in a special feature called La Orangerie. Each of the galleries will be bringing one or two extremely special works to showcase, and the section will be something of a highlight amid the larger fair.

A few of the returning galleries include W&K Wienerroither & Kohlbacher, a Vienna- and New York-based gallery dealing in Austrian avant-garde artists; Peter Mühlbauer, a furniture expert; and the Düsseldorf-based dealers Beck & Eggeling.”

Courtesy of HIGHLIGHTS Internationale Kunstmesse München / Hendrik Steffens.

Courtesy of HIGHLIGHTS Internationale Kunstmesse München / Hendrik Steffens, 2018.

A Focus on Young Dealers

“This year we decided to choose three young dealers to exhibit at the fair. We thought it was time for the next generation of dealers to have a turn to show their work and be supported. This year we’re featuring Felicitas Vogdt of Galerie Stefan Vogdt, which specializes in design and decorative art from the 1940s to ’80s; Martina Tauber of Martina Tauber Fine Art, which is know for its salon-style shows of modern and contemporary art; and Johannes Eggerbauer, a young Cologne-based dealer who is promoting Expressionist art to the next generation.”

Emil Kraus (St. Pölten 1897 - 1930 Paris), The Couple 1925. Courtesy of Kovacek Spiegelgasse Gemälde Glas.

Emil Kraus, The Couple (1925). Courtesy of Kovacek Spiegelgasse Gemälde Glas.

On Being Part of Munich’s Cultural Fabric

“Munich has a very long tradition of art collecting, which we are participating in. It’s the oldest city in Germany, even older than Cologne, with a tradition of dealer families. For instance, one of our galleries is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. If you’ve never been to the city, you’ll find a number of world-class museums, like Die Pinakotheken and Villa Stuck.

Munich is a very complex city, full of discoveries. No one really expects it to be such a contemporary art center but we have a very strong community that is evolving and its making it a competitor even to Berlin, perhaps not in size but in quality. Plus there are three other fairs taking place as satellites around HIGHLIGHTS, so there’s a lot to see.”

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, The Payment of the Tithe or the Village Lawyer. Courtesy of © copyright Galerie De Jonckheere.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, The Payment of the Tithe or the Village Lawyer. Courtesy of Galerie De Jonckheere.

On Developing the Next Generation of Collectors 

“We do have quite of few younger collectors that are really starting to get interested in it. A lot of that goes through the storytelling of our dealers, who can tell the whole histories behind these objects. That’s what’s so interesting and what captures the imagination of young collectors. It’s a deeper approach. Our main focus in art is the quality, whether it’s ancient or contemporary. The goal is also to educate people in their 30s and 40s, and to show that these older works can look incredible with contemporary settings, and to show the handcraft and technique and sophistication.”

HIGHLIGHTS International Art Fair at Residenz Munich from Wednesday, October 16–Sunday, October 20, from 11 a.m.–7 p.m.;  During the late night opening on Thursday, October 17, the fair will be open until 10 p.m.


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