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New Carlsberg Glyptotek...support the arts, but do it with caution

Written By onci on Monday, August 8, 2005 | 3:20 AM

This Friday I visited the New Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark known for the statue of the Little Mermaid. I came to Copenhagen very early in the morning.

I had dropped my son off at Copenhagen Airport for a transatlantic flight. Copenhagen was still asleep.

Baresso, my favorite coffee shop, opened at 7.30 a.m. So. I spent some time sightseeing before breakfast.




The Royal Castle, Amalienborg was wrapped.



The Parliament, Christiansborg was wrapped.



The City Hall was wrapped.


Christo???
The National Bank, The Tivoli Concert Hall and the New Carlsberg Glyptotek was kind of wrapped, too. Might it be an art work by Christo accomplished over night? What a surprise! What an excellent idea! Excellent.
Or?
Was it nothing but prosaic reconstruction, rebuilding, restoration, renovation.
I have decided not to ask.
I was stuck in an elevator in the parking house. I totally panicked. Baresso was not far away. A double espresso and a focaccia bread. And a double americano. Was what it took to recover.


Carlsberg
Carlsberg's slogan is "Probably the Best Bear in the World".
If it is the Best?
Try it out.



I found Carlsberg's web site, and the title was:
Carlsberg.com - Probably the Best Website in the World.
Try it out.

The World?
You might have seen these Carlsberg advertisements....



I asked friends in New York, in Paris, and in Tokyo.
What is Carlsberg?
All of them answered : "A bear".

In 1847 Carlsberg's founder I.C. Jacobsen started the beer production in the first Carlsberg brewery plant, know as the Old Carlsberg.
In 1880 - as part of a fatiguing family drama - Carl Jacobsen, the son of the founder, established his own brewery, New Carlsberg. This fatiguing family drama is documented in books and has been the theme of a very spell-binding TV serial.

In 1887 I.C. Jacobsen died and Old Carlsberg and New Carlsberg were united in the Carlsberg Foundation.


And the Carlsberg Foundation made
over the years
an awful lot of money.



New Carlsberg Glyptotek
However.
In one area I.C. Jacobsen and Carl Jacobsen were united.
They were both passionate art collectors.

The New Carlsberg Glyptotek was founded 1897 by Carl Jacobsen who created one of the largest private art collections of his time. It was named after his brewery, New Carlsberg, with the addition of "Glyptotek", meaning collection of sculpture. He was interested in contemporary French and Danish art, as well as ancient art from the cultures surrounding the Mediterranean. To secure the future of the collection, Carl Jacobsen and his wife Ottilia donated it to the public in two deeds of gift from 1888 and 1899. The Museum's buildings were created to house these works of art.




Collection of ancient art
Today, the museum houses the largest collection of ancient art in Northern Europe, primarily sculpture, from Egypt, the Near East, Greece and Italy.



Egypt Statue, 1403 B.C. - 1365 B.C. Diorite, H. 160 cm.
Greece Vase, Apulian Amphora, Trozzella 500 BC.- 475 B.C. Clay, H. 33.3 cm
Etruria Statue, from Chiusi, 500 - 330 B.C. H. 100 cm
Etruria Vase, Archaic 700 - 500 B.C. Clay, H: 47.5 cm
Rome Pompey the Great, 106 BC.- 48 BC. Marble, H. 25 cm
Rome Aphrodite, Roman Imperial Period, 30 B.C.- 500 A.D. Marble, H. 92 cm
Rome Alexander the Great, Roman copy (2. cent. AD) of Greek original (2. cent. BC). Marble, H. 36 cm


Collection of European, French and Danish art
But during the more than one hundred years of its existence, the museum has also expanded the collection of French and Danish art from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I was at New Carlsberg Glyptotek for the first time decades ago. I was there together with my art teacher Jes Dueholm Jessen - a great art teacher. It took my breath away. Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Heni de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir...



Click on the above pictures to see New Carlsberg Glyptotek's comprehensive collection notes.


...and Auguste Rodin, Camille Pissarro, Édouard Manet, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Carot, Gustave Courbet... And then a Van Gogh, I never had seen a Van Gogh before.




Thoughts
At this visit at New Carlsberg Glyptotek the collection even had a Pablo Picasso. Some years ago I saw the collection of European Paintings at Art Institute of Chicago. Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Picasso, Gauguin, Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Monet, Renoir, Chagall... and a thought popped up in my mind: "These masters don't belong here".

Before that I saw the same artists at Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands - no thoughts of that kind popped up. Wandering around among the sculptures, vases, mosaics etc. from ancient Mediterranean cultures at the New Carlsberg Glyptotek this thought popped up again: "These sculptures, vases, mosaics etc. from the ancient Mediterranean cultures don't belong here".

Last summer I visited Rome and I wandered around among sculptures, vases, mosaics from ancient Mediterranean cultures at Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme - no thoughts of that kind popped up.
My common sense tells me to brutally neutralize these thoughts.

Of course citizens in US must have the possibility to see a van Gogh.
Of course citizens in Denmark must have the possibility to see sculptures, vases, mosaics etc. from ancient Mediterranean cultures.
But...


Photos:
Photos of Amalienborg, Christiansborg, Copenhagen City Hall and New Carlsberg Glyptotek outside are by Asbjorn Lonvig
Photo of New Carlsberg Glyptotek inside is from Photo Archives at http://www.glyptoteket.dk/
Photos of sculptures, vases, mosaics etc. from ancient Mediterranean cultures are from Collections at www.glyptoteket.dk Photos of Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Heni de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Vincent van Gogh art works are from Collections at http://www.glyptoteket.dk/
Photos of Carlsberg bear bottle and 3 photos of Carlsberg advertisements are from Media, Image Library at www.carlsberg.com.




Support the art with caution...

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