Hi Everyone. The Green Gallery is 20 years old!
On January 05th 1995 The Green Gallery opened on the Top Floor of St. Stephens Green Centre. We are amazed it's been 20 years already.
Through Celtic Tiger Times and Recessionary Times we have Opened 7 days a week all year round. from 9am to 7pm. The energy and dedication has been unbelievable. We have always providing quality original works of art and quality picture framing.
We are very grateful for the support we have received from you, our customer, over the years.
Dermot O'Grady, owner-director of The Green Gallery is particularly discerning about the artists he exhibits, thus ensuring that his customers can be guaranteed an excellent investment.
Open 7 days a week The Gallery is extremely accessible, being situated on the top floor of the St. Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, which is on the corner of fashionable Grafton Street and St Stephen's Green, in the very heart of cosmopolitan Dublin.
A BRIEF HISTORY
Dermot O’ Grady is a totally self made Businessman. A family man with four children and a loving and understanding wife, Phyl, Dermot has always been interested in Arts, from as far back as 1985 when he worked in the Hotel Business, his dream was to open an Art Gallery in his native Dublin. First beginning in 1993 as a humble 300sq-ft unit in the Westbury Mall, which was made available on a temporary basis until it was let, Dermot tried an experiment of letting the wall space to Artists for a monthly fee. This worked quite well until the shop unit became let.
After a period off about a year Dermot rented a premises on Sth Great George’s St and opened a Gallery there. He called it The Castle Art Gallery. Again Dermot rented out wall space to artists on a monthly basis. Sth Great George’s St at the time was very quiet and the Gallery had very little passing trade. So Dermot saw that the only thing to do was to get nearer to the centre of the action. So in 1995 Dermot made enquiries with the management of The St Stephens Green Ctr as to the possibility of renting the vacant corridor on the top floor. Michael Stokes the general manager took on the idea with great enthusiasm and The Green Gallery was born. The Green Gallery is now trading successfully and has become extremely popular for artist and collector alike with its brightly lit and easily approachable casual style. Working on a commission basis the Gallery enjoys phenomenal passing trade and has since gained an excellent reputation.
'HANGING AROUND THE CORRIDOR OF POWER'. by Marlene Lyng. The Sunday Tribune. 2005.
The green Gallery is in a unique location
DERMOTO'Grady is on top of the world and surrounded by what he has always loved . . . art and celebrity. He is celebrating his Green Gallery's 10th birthday on top of one of the largest shopping precincts in the city, St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre . . . or, indeed, on top of a floating steam ship or a giant wedding cake, as the building was dubbed when first built.
But the long haul to the top was preceded by a tough climb up various ladders, particularly those of the hotel industry. He started out in life with an interest in art, a talent for drawing, and a real desire to run an art gallery, but he put it all on hold while he tried to earn a living. In this respect, his stint as a hotel porter was the most lucrative. "The tips were great and the celebrities ever greater."
Starting as a banqueting porter, and moving on to night porter (where the tips were better) he worked his way up, fraternising along the way with celebrities who frequented the hotels.
"Richard Harris was a real hell-raiser. When Jack Donnelly, [whose sister was married to Richard Harris] was manager at the Berkeley Court, Harris was a frequent guest. When he was going though his divorce, he was particularly obstreperous, " says O'Grady.
"There were other wellknown people who would fall asleep in the lounge and have to be practically carried to their rooms in a terrible state.
Rod Stewart would take over the entire lounge and bar.
When he went to football matches his mates would carry him out to his limo on their shoulders bellowing 'Here We Go', 'Here We Go'."
During a stint at the Westbury Hotel, O'Grady met Bob Dylan, a quieter man.
"Dylan didn't want anyone to know he was in the hotel, and didn't want to be referred to as Dylan when making or taking phone calls. He was very security conscious and used to walk to The Point for exercise with his chauffeur driving beside him to make sure he was okay. Once, he tried to avoid front-of- house attention by going out through a fire-escape wearing a hooded track suit top and when apprehended by a security guard he explained 'I'm Bob Dylan', to which the guard replied, 'Oh, yes, and I'm the King of Siam'.
"It took a long time to convince the guard that Dylan wasn't some kind of a chancer in a hoodie.
"I got tired of looking at how the other half lived, and wanted to live out my own ambition, " O'Grady says. He got an opportunity to do that when the Westbury Mall manager allowed him use an empty unit to open a gallery.
"It faced onto Clarendon Street, and I called it the Clarendon Gallery. It was a great showcase for art." When it was taken over, O'Grady went on to open another gallery in South Great George's Street. "It wasn't great for business since there were double yellow lines outside and no parking, and the passing trade wasn't very healthy . . . it just kept passing by. The two Christmases of '93 and '94 were particularly difficult, and I had to get my dad to dress up as Santa Claus and stand outside handing out leaflets about the gallery."
One day, when looking around St Stephen's Green shopping centre for a unit to rent, O'Grady spied what he called "a missed opportunity".
In large shopping centres, there is a scramble for the best-situated retail units, and stores such as Benetton, Dunnes Stores, and Peter Marks seek the prime locations.
But by a sheer fluke, and long after the prime units were snapped up, O'Grady spotted the best location of all at the top of the shopping centre, right beside the entrance to the car parking facilities, and on the way to the Ladies and a restaurant. It was, in fact, a corridor.
Its potential had escaped the eagle eyes of the sharp business practitioners.
"Granted, it wasn't an obvious opportunity. It was a dismal, dark, grey, wide corridor. I went to the centre's manager, Michael Stokes, whom I already knew, which was a help, as he used to pop into the South George's Street gallery, and I said 'I want to open an art gallery in your corridor'.
Naturally, he was surprised.
'It's an interesting idea', he said. 'Put something in writing'."
And believing in striking when the iron is hot, O'Grady immediately found some paper. "We did the deal on a piece of toilet roll, " he says.
One of the obstacles was the rent. "I don't know how to charge you for a corridor, " said the centre's manager.
"You're not renting a typical unit." They started off on a gentleman's agreement, and then on a commission basis, and finally to a more formal footing.
O'Grady opened one of the longest art galleries in the country and hasn't looked back . . . he looks downwards and sideways where from his vantage point he can see his customers approach up the escalators or emerging from the car-park doorways.
"I don't just cater for the fashionable artists who are here today and gone tomorrow, " he says. "I spread my artists across a wide spectrum, including emerging, established and international artists, and those who want to stage one-off exhibitions."
O'Grady's Green Gallery features works by Peter, Graham and Jonathan Knuttel.
There are works by Tom Cullen (he died in 2001) whose sepia-toned oils of Dublin street scenes are beginning to escalate in price; Steve Browning; Francis Kennedy;
Enkhbold Dambadarjaa, whose horse studies have been commissioned by stud farms; Norman Teeling who started out exhibiting at the Green Gallery; the talented Russian artist Andriy Ozernyy, who has become a name to watch in Irish art circles. O'Grady wasn't slow to see that good Russian artists would appeal to Irish collectors. He has just finished exhibiting Elena Mikhailova's work.
His old celebrity friends have paid him visits, including Billy Connolly and Freddie Starr. Tips are no longer on his mind, except for the ones he hands out as to which artists are worth watching.
"I have the best gallery in the country, with the biggest passing trade, " he says. "A corridor of power."