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The New Carlsberg Foundation

The New Carlsberg Foundation is housed in the old brewery yard at Brolæggerstræde 5, where both J.C. Jacobsen and his son, Carl Jacobsen, were born.

The New Carlsberg Foundation – in the service of art

Brewer Carl Jacobsen believed that by being surrounded by art, people themselves become better. In 1902, he therefore established the New Carlsberg Foundation as a separate department of the Carlsberg Foundation. Today, the New Carlsberg Foundation is a pillar of the Danish arts. The Foundation works to promote, enhance and develop art, the appreciation of art and the desire for art in Denmark.

Art and Beer

Carl Jacobsen (1842-1914) had an ever burning passion for the arts and spent a large proportion of the proceeds from his brewery on acquiring works of art. For more than 100 years, the New Carlsberg Foundation has supported the arts, and the Foundation’s work has had a strong influence on the Danish art world. Over the years, the Foundation has contributed considerably to museum collections and been responsible for depositing thousands of works of art in the country’s institutions and public places, and for the publication of a large number of famous scientific printed works.

Like his father, J.C. Jacobsen, Carl Jacobsen was passionate about brewing. In 1881, he created the New Carlsberg brewery and quickly became a successful company owner and brewer.

Carl Jacobsen skilfully ran New Carlsberg in accordance with the motto “Semper Ardens”, Latin for “always burning”. However, Carl was equally passionate about the arts, and throughout his lifetime he was a dedicated art collector and a generous patron. In 1897, he opened Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, offering public access to his unique art collection at a beautiful venue in the centre of Copenhagen.

The New Carlsberg Foundation’s Charter was signed on 20 January 1902 by brewer Carl Jacobsen and his wife Ottilia Jacobsen.

In 1902, Carl Jacobsen threw himself even further into the service of art by transferring the New Carlsberg brewery to the Carlsberg Foundation and establishing the New Carlsberg Foundation together with his wife Ottilia. His desire was for a separate foundation under the umbrella of the Carlsberg Foundation that would promote the role in society not of science but of art. He had a strong belief that by being surrounded by art, people themselves become better. In the New Carlsberg Foundation’s Charter, he therefore wrote that the Foundation should “work for the benefit of the arts in the founder’s homeland” and “support the desire for and love of art”.

A dynamo in the Danish art world

For more than 110 years, the New Carlsberg Foundation has supported the arts in Denmark and abroad, and Carl Jacobsen’s philosophy and values still underpin the work of the Foundation. The New Carlsberg Foundation aims to be a dynamo in the Danish art world and raise the profile of art in society. The Foundation’s task is to illuminate art as a force that can produce critical citizens with a balanced view of the world.

Carl Jacobsen and sculpture Edvard Eriksen attends the presentation of The Little Mermaid at Langelinie port in Copenhagen on August 23, 1913. The idea for the Mermaid and the funding both came from Carl Jacobsen.

The New Carlsberg Foundation has a progressive appreciation of art: it understands art not just as the pictorial arts, but also decorative art, architecture and landscape gardening ‒ and, moreover, art in its broadest sense, i.e. where the visual art idiom connects with related art forms and contexts.

Asger Jorn: Le Soleil m'emmerde 1961. Gift to the National Gallery of Denmark, 2012

Since it was established, the Foundation has awarded almost 16,000 grants. The Foundation’s funding currently runs to around DKK 100m a year and supports public adornments, book publications and the acquisition of artworks, which are donated to Danish museums. As a result, Danish museums have acquired works by some of the world’s finest artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore and Asger Jorn, and, in more recent times, by internationally important artists, such as Olafur Eliasson, Louise Bourgeois and Elmgreen & Dragset.

Art for the benefit of all

The New Carlsberg Foundation’s view is that art should benefit the whole of society. Art should therefore be displayed where it can be enjoyed by everyone – regardless of age, ethnicity and educational status. The museums play an important role in this regard.

The Foundation also believes that Danish citizens should have the opportunity to encounter high-quality art outside the traditional institutions. For this reason, the Foundation displays art in public institutions and in public places, such as churches, hospices, law courts, hospitals and educational establishments.

Since it was established in 1902, the New Carlsberg Foundation has also been responsible for managing Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, an internationally acclaimed museum in Copenhagen.

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