Art dealers, as a rule, do not like for their customers to wander into their storerooms in order to take an undisturbed survey of its "tuckaways". One day in january of 1979 I came into Galerie Birch on Admiralgade. There were several visitors and Børge sat at his desk busily preoccupied with writing a letter. Now and then he lifted an eyebrow in order to register any possible signals of purchase. He suddenly ask me if I had come to buy, but my answer brought him right back to his letter-writing.
The door to the storeroom stood slightly open and I saw my chance to go on expedition among sculptures and paintings. At the rear of a shelf a gold picture-frame protruded out of a piece of corrugated paper. I wanted to get a closer look at the contents. It
turned out to be a magnificent Jorn painting from 1966, the fantastic composition and colores checkmated me.
As I came out into the gallery again, Børge and I were the only persons still there, and he surprised me by asking whether I wanted something since I was still in the gallery. I cautiously asked about the painting by Jorn, but Børge quickly made it clear that I could forget all about that. It was his private picture which had just been returned from having been framed and it was damned sure not for sale. A month passed, and suddenly Børge telephoned and told me that he had thought about the interest I took in the painting by Jorn. The problem with that picture was that Jorn had given it to Børge as a gift for Børge's sixtieth birthday. Jorn himself was prevented from taking part in the party, which was held in one of those small gardens in Frederiksberg, but Guy Atkins had had it along with him from London. Jorn had written on the back of the canvas the following: "To Børge Birch - my friend - on his 60th birthday, with thanks for many years of comradeship - from Asger". At the the bottom, Jorn had added in parenthesis, "Not To Be Sold".
Børge explained that that parenthetical sentence made it difficult for him. But as Børge had married several times and had several children in his marriages, there could perhaps arise problems with precisely that picture whenever his estate was to be divided. Therefor Børge suggested that I purchase the picture with the proviso that I would not be allowed to sell it to anyone as long as he lived. In return I would be allowed to pay for it with 1/3 down, 1/3 a year from now and the remainder the year after.
I accepted the terms of his offer, and Karie and Børge came driving to Odense the following Sunday to deliver the painting. During the serving of coffee, Børge ran his eyes around the room's best wall, takes another painting down and hangs up the Jorn painting instead. "It must hang there!", Børge declared. And there it remained.