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
"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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