My acquaintanceship with Børge Birch goes all the way back to 1970. He was our connection with the gallery, and as its first order to us, we received the task of producing a fine arts catalogue. That became the beginning of a lifelong business association, plus a friendship which alone the passing of Børge could end. We had firsthand connections with as good as all artists, and experiences, including not so few adventurous ones, were many.
As a rule, when the printing of different catalogues got underway, the artist who was to exhibit his works was brought by Børge over to our printing shop for possible last-minute adjustments. Whenever I reflect back on this the names of such personages as Asger Jorn, Robert Jacobsen, and many others come to mind - both Danish as well as those from abroad.
Everybody was familiar with Børge's humor, the telling of little stories now and then, and his many interests, among others music, motorcar racing, and professional boxing.
I went out to Dragør to Børge's one day as we were to set up a newspaper which we designed to be used at an art exhibition in Norway. When I arrived at his doorstep, I heard music blasting away at the song "Jesus Christ Superstar", so I assumed that there were young people in the house. But on entering the living room, there turned out to be Karie and Børge who were quite alone.
On another occasion I got a telephone call at home and Børge merely said: "Everything is a mess, I can't figure anything out, you have to come and it has to be right now. I'm on the Island of Læsø, get hold of a pilot and come immediately!"
On Saturday I was fortunate because after a long hard day's work we could celebrate Karie's birthday.
One event or incident left an imprint on my mind; a considerable time after having sent Børge a bill for an art catalogue, he showed up at my office. "Jacob, come downstairs with me to the parking lot and you will see why it is taking somewhat longer this time around to reimburse you:" On the lot was parked a grand, brand-new Mercedes automobile.
To buy or not to buy
Børge and Karie were invited to dinner by us. As the evening wore on, Børge mentioned that Robert Jacobsen's Swedish art dealer had died, and that his widow would like to sell a very fine sculpture by Robert Jacobsen.
Although we did not imagine ourselves to be purchasing any art works that evening, we soon became aware that things were to take a different turn. We agreed to buy that sculpture, sight unseen, as it were, but in strength of our confidence in Børge's sence for quality and secure impressions or feelings.
Three perhaps four months passed when we received a telephone call from Børge, saying that he was now at the point of delivering the sculpture to us, but we had nearly forgotten about our agreement that evening.
Since he brought it over here, we enjoy everyday the beauty of this lovely work of art from an exciting period in Robert Jacobsen's sculpture-producing days.
We paid a visit to the Open Exhibition Building where Børge Birch had an exhibition entitled: "Paris - Copenhagen". We looked at a painting by Carl Henning Pedersen, which we simply had to own. So we bought it right away. A fortnight had gone by when we had to acknowlegde that we just could not afford that lovely painting and of necessity had to go down to Galerie Birch to explain our unpleasent situation. Børge was very understanding and permitted us to cancel our purchase, and did so without a frown. A whole year passed before we could admit our deep regret for what we had done and understood that we could not do without a Carl Henning Pedersen painting. We consulted with each other and immediately went back down to Galeri Birch and bought a handsome painting by Carl Henning Pedersen. This time we kept it.