In an interview with ATG, when asked if replicating his success would be possible for younger dealers, he said: “Not so easily because there’s fewer high quality paintings coming onto the market.
“The main things we look for are quality, artist, subject, condition and provenance. A highly desirable painting has to meet all of these criteria.”
Green revealed that while there are still superior paintings on the market, their high prices and scarcity will make their acquisition difficult.
“There’s still lots to discover in the Old Master market, but it is selective. There are very strong prices for the best pieces. There is a scarcity in the top of the market and there always has been.”
Green started out in 1955 and now owns two galleries specialising in Old Masters and Modern art.
The two galleries are located on New Bond Street, and although the last few years has seen established dealers such as Rupert Wace and Day & Faber move out of the area, Green has insisted that he will not be following suit.
He said that they find their two shops “excellent showcases for the paintings that we sell, attracting collectors from all over the world”.
“I bought the freehold of 33 New Bond Street in the 1990s and built a completely new gallery with the emphasis on 20th century art.
“Why are dealers moving out of Bond Street? I don’t know. It serves us very well.”
Sitting in the room at the back of his gallery where his current exhibition Edward Seago: Norfolk and Suffolk runs until May 27, Green recalls his own history of dealing in the artist’s work.
“When I started as a dealer, you could get a Seago for £200. And in fact I did. I used to queue up at Colnaghi [for Seago’s paintings] and I’ve got a few of those still.
“I started buying Seago’s paintings in the early 1960s. He captures the poetry and the wonderful skies of Norfolk and Suffolk landscape in a way that no other 20th century artist does.”
Richard Green has held many Seago exhibitions over the years. This is the 17th show organised by the gallery, and over the course of these they have sold 800 of his paintings.
At the current exhibition which focuses solely on scenes of East Anglia, when ATG arrived a week after the opening, the gallery had marked six of the paintings in the exhibition as being sold, and reported three or four new buyers having come through the gallery.
“Seago has perennial appeal,” said Green. “He was hugely popular in his lifetime and still has broad appeal today.”