|Unfortunate art collector tells:
In the good old days, Børge Birch held an art exhibition on carl Henning Pedersen's works.People streamed in - prior to the grand-opening, of course - and when we other poor fellows showed up the pictures were sold. Now I did not happen to have a hundred thousand crowns - the price was in that range - perhaps a little less.One picture was not sold. "You will never get that one sold Birch. it is built up loosely, the colours are not what they ought to be - I will give 40.000, but then it has to be here and now."You are speaking with your understanding - try now to position yourself here. Now you can see that it is exhibition's best picture. "It will have been sold by tomorrow. "Try to look at it in this lighting. "You are nice to listen to - dear Birch - I now bid 30.000."A month later my wife and I came into the gallery. The picture, of course, had not been sold. I had been right after all, my satisfaction was great. I walked closer in order to see what the picture was now priced at. It had not been lowered.A new pricetag was on it - hold tight - the picture was increased 20.000 crowns.I cried out, "Birch now you have to stop" Børge replied, "Carl Henning Pedersen is at this moment exhibiting his artworks in U.S.A., and according to the present rate of exchange, that is the price - dear friend". It did not even bother him. A long time went by, but it probably was sold at the new price. He could also be like that.
Many years later, three of our pictures were stolen: one Walasse Ting, one Bitran, and a Corneille. They were of course recently evaluated, Birch renders such service perenially I bought them from him. At that point of time they cost 165.000 crowns. A big fight was had with the insurance company which wanted us to listen to them - we could just go out and buy some others by the same artist. They do not need to cost so much mony. No,no these were exquisite pictures. They remained at that. I got my 165.000 crowns.
Some days later, I shared the story with Birch, and he was glad. Yes, he then said, it was bad, but he was glad. "Now just look at these", he said. "Here are theree lovely pictures. What is your pleasure?"
"I will tell you Birch, Birch, here you see my receipt for the purchase of 190.000 crowns worth of government bonds."
At that point the Kingdom of Norway burst form Birch,s hands - if one may say so. He never did forget it. Government bonds - ugh!
The picture there was by Corneille and is the best one I have seen by him.
It would have made me a great deal of money today. The goverment bonds are still lying there, but in a safe - without colours on the wall.
Børge was right.