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Warhol Wednesdays

Amazing Stories of a Collector: An Interview with Börje Bengtsson (Bengtsson Fine Art, Landskrona, Sweden)

Photograph of Borje Bengsston with art in the background

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

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In 2009, Börje Bengsston was contacted by a representative of the widow of John Melin, the dominant figure in graphic design in Sweden during the 1960s. It had come to light that Melin designed many of the publications, posters and ephemera for the Moderna Museet during Pontus Hulten’s tenure as Director of the Moderna Museet from 1959 to 1972. In 1968, Melin designed all of the publications for Andy Warhol’s first international retrospective organized by Pontus Hulten. The exhibition was on view in Stockholm during February and March. It was by all accounts the coldest winter in Sweden on record. 

Among the many objects that were designed and printed included a mysterious rectangular screen print of Marilyn Monroe which was based on a single image in Andy Warhol’s 1962 screen print: Twenty-five Marilyns in Black and White. At the time of the Warhol exhibition,  Hulten purchased this 1962 Marilyn from Andy Warhol and it was added to the permanent collection of the Moderna Museum in 1968.

The print legacy of Warhol’s 1968 exhibition is well known and documented. This includes the 1968 exhibition catalog and the set of six text posters that feature Andy Warhol’s aphorisms. However, the Marilyn screen prints disappeared and went underground, the first to reappear in 2009. Intrepid American Andy Warhol collector Gregory McCoy discovered the Marilyn print on the Bengtsson web site and the rest is history. Since his first purchase, Bengtsson has uncovered 323 of these mysterious Marilyns over the past twelve years.

In his first interview since discovering the Marilyn screen prints in 2009, Börje Bengtsson has agreed to be interviewed to discuss his long journey with Gregory McCoy in their collaborative attempt to determine the origins and creator of the 1968 Marilyn Monroe screen prints. 

At the age of 24, Börje Bengsston opened a commercial art gallery in Landskrona with his business partner, Ihan Cristianson. The gallerists were interested in exhibiting and selling works by Pop Artists. Börje Bengsston has operated his rare book and rare business since the early 90s. His goal is to try to help collectors, consultants, museums and others to find what they are looking for in the contemporary art field. 

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