The New Carlsberg Foundation’s grants (totalling some DKK 195 million in 2022) fall into three main categories: art for museums, public art projects and art research, while a non-earmarked fund is available for other art-related purposes.

The foundation rests on the fundamental belief that art plays a major role for people’s ability to engage with the world in a critical and nuanced manner. Therefore, art should be made accessible to all – regardless of age, ethnicity and educational background. In this endeavour, museums play a key role, and hence, donating works of art to be displayed on museum walls and floors is an important part of the foundation’s activities.

In addition, people should be able to encounter quality art in and around the institutions they frequent. That is why the foundation lends or donates works of art to be placed in public institutions and in the public space: churches, hospices, court buildings, hospitals and institutions of learning, including primary and secondary schools and universities. As a matter of principle, the foundation only engages in art projects in places with public access.

In addition to the grants, the foundation’s board also offers advice, in particular to museum leadership, and generally strives to be a forum for the arts, where experiences can be exchanged, and new initiatives emerge.

The New Carlsberg Foundation has historically developed a particular obligation towards the New Carlsberg Glyptotek, which, like the foundation, was founded by brewer Carl Jacobsen. The New Carlsberg Foundation thus contributes to the operation of the Glyptotek, and the foundation’s board members are represented on the board for the Glyptotek. Furthermore, the chairperson for the Foundation is also the chairman/chairwoman of the museum’s board.

Based on the foundation charter, the grants fall into the following categories:

Art for museums
The foundation frequently approves applications from museums seeking funds to purchase individual works of art for their collections. The initiative for the acquisition comes from the museum in question. With respect for the museums’ professional insight and knowledge, the board assesses whether the purchase matches the museum’s profile and acquisition strategy. It is a constant ambition for the foundation to enrich museums with individual high-quality works of art that exceed the museums’ budgets – to the benefit of the museums and their guests.

By supporting exhibitions at museums, art centres and exhibition venues, the foundation wants to contribute to developing ‘the sense of and appreciation for art’ among a broad demographic.

Public art projects
Public art projects may take one of two forms: 1) art projects where the foundation, in dialogue with a given institution, asks an artist to produce a new work of art (or a series of works, an installation etc.) for a given public context or 2) permanent loans where the foundation makes works of art available that were previously purchased at exhibitions or auctions by the board members (these works are put into storage by the foundation until they are placed at the recipient institutions).

As a matter of principle, the institutions do not choose the works or the artists. Thus, the foundation takes an active role in determining what works should be put on display – and by which artists. Ultimately, it is up to the institutions to decide whether a proposed art project is appropriate, but this decision is made in a close dialogue with the foundation. In connection with large-scale art projects, the normal procedure is to carry out a draft project (for which the foundation compensates the artist, regardless of the eventual decision). 

Art research and publications
With the purpose of stimulating the level of knowledge and innovation in the Danish art world, the foundation supports art research. The foundation is engaged in special programmes to fund individual research projects, and Ph.D. and post-doc projects in Danish museums with the goal of stimulating the level of research at the museums and improving the connections between the universities, which are responsible for overseeing the research, and the museums. In addition, the foundation supports grants for research trips.

The foundation supports efforts to digitise and provide access to source material that can contribute to insight into and knowledge of Danish art history. The grant accepts applications from institutions and individuals alike. However, in order to be eligible all projects must be hosted by an institution that manages the grant.

The foundation supports the publication of research-based publications, artist monographs and academic art history publications, including exhibition catalogues, and exhibition catalogues accompanying Danish artists’ exhibitions abroad.

Non-earmarked fund
Apart from the three main areas, the board has allocated funds to grant innovative initiatives that seek to improve the conditions for creating and experiencing pictorial arts, within the framework of the charter. The foundation also takes a catalytic role, in the sense that the board may choose to initiate new projects that it finds relevant or take the initiative to establish partnerships to take on given challenges in a collaborative effort.