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Carl Jacobsen’s Correspondence Archive

Carl Jacobsen’s Correspondence Archive

Carl Jacobsen’s Correspondence Archive
In June 2014 the Ny Carlsberg Foundation began a digitalization of the oldest parts of the Glyptotek’s and Ny Carlsberg Foundation’s correspondence archives. The records cover the period from the close of the 1870s up to 1946 and constitute the most important primary source material concerning the early history of the Glyptotek and the Ny Carlsberg Foundation and the creation of the collections. The project has two purposes; partly to safeguard the records for posterity, and partly to present selected letters and correspondences digitally in a new, independent letter base bearing the name Carl Jacobsen’s Correspondence Archive.
The preservation stage of the task is now completed. Some 100,000 pages have been scanned and the work of editing, including the naming of each of the many files is proceeding at full speed.
Carl Jacobsen’s Correspondence Archive. A “Work in Process”
In his long life Carl Jacobsen wrote (literally) thousands of letters: the precise number is unknown. From the surviving copy books and original letters we know of roughly 5,000 letters from Jacobsen’s hand. The “incoming post” with letters addressed to Carl Jacobsen far exceeds this number, so, all in all, the Carl Jacobsen Correspondence Archive may contain as many as 15,000 letters. In the coming years the Ny Carlsberg Foundation will publish a sequence of selections from the Carl Jacobsen correspondences, which throw light on the creation and growth of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Jacobsen’s lifetime.
As far back as 1940 Frederik Poulsen, the Director of the Glyptotek, wrote in the foreword to his catalogue of the Glyptotek’s antique sculpture: “The extensive collections of letters between Carl Jacobsen and Helbig, Arndt, Pollak and others should, if not actually be published, then worked up into a detailed exposition of the Glyptotek’s creation and the growth of the collections under Carl Jacobsen. In this way many new features will be added to the picture of this man who was Denmark’s greatest artistic Grandsigneur…”
And to Frederik Poulsen’s list we can add correspondence between all the artists – Danish and foreign – whose works Jacobsen incorporated into his Glyptotek. Now, more than 75 years later, advances in technology have made it possible to satisfy Poulsen’s wishes, so that the various correspondences can be published in a well-arranged and easily accessible way.
“Work in Process”
The work with Carl Jacobsen’s correspondence archive is extensive and will come to fill several years. We have decided not to delay publication until the whole corpus is given its definitive form but to publish the various correspondences gradually as they emerge clearly from scanning, transcription and a brief description of contents. Some letters will even, for a period, only appear as a scanning, provided solely with basic information: date, sender, recipient. The letter is thus at least accessible, and one can try a reading of the original text. In the course of time all letters will be provided with commentary, photographs and other references, just as, taking the long view, one will also be able to search the subjects which appear in the letters.
A directory is likewise being currently developed with biographies and photographs of the principal people featured in the correspondence.
Any comments and suggestions for improvements should be sent to the person responsible for the project, Claus Grønne, Mag.Art, cgr@ncf.dk