Wednesday - 17 September 2014

Art trade holds strong says Richard Green

19 February 2013Written by Ivan Macquisten

Leading Bond Street picture dealer Richard Green has made a stand for traditional art dealing and bricks-and-mortar galleries amid wider concern over the future of the trade.

In a letter to ATG printed in this week's issue, Mr Green responds to fears expressed last week by fellow dealer Julian Agnew that "changes in the market and technology make a gallery no longer necessary unless perhaps you are a big Contemporary art business".

Wishing Mr Agnew every success dealing privately, Mr Green has used the opportunity to widen the debate on the future of dealing and defend robustly the role of the traditional gallery in the face of growing internet influence.

"If you want to question whether a gallery is necessary or not, why did thousands of people come and view our recent exhibitions of Sir Alfred Munnings and Ken Howard instead of simply viewing these exhibitions online?" he argues.

"Why have visitor numbers to The Tate and other museums helped to make London such an important tourist destination? Many of these people are not buyers, but some are, and they all want to experience art first-hand."

Mr Green also addresses the issue of finance and backing for galleries in the current economic climate:

"I know that there is concern amongst the trade that banks do not take our trade seriously. I have to say my own experience is very different and we have been very fortunate to have received strong support from our bankers over many years."

He is also bullish about the future and believes the trade should receive more credit for changing with the times.

"While I agree that times may be challenging for dealers with galleries, I believe the trade in general is rising to meet those challenges."

Mr Green expressed his views just as the LAPADA Conference addressed in detail what those challenges are, at fairs, in galleries and particularly online.

• The full text of Richard Green's letter appears on page 57 of this week's ATG. To subscribe of the printed newspaper, click here.

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