Celeste Bartos joined The Museum of Modern Art Board of Trustees in 1970, and served for more than four decades as a dynamic committee member and chairman. Mrs. Bartos and her husband, Armand, were also generous with gifts of important works to MoMA’s collection, and no curatorial department has benefitted more from their largesse than the Department of Film.
Until the mid-1990s MoMA’s film collection was housed in a commercial warehouse in Fort Lee, New Jersey. As the chairman of the Film Committee, Celeste Bartos provided significant funding and, more importantly, key trustee support for the planning and building of a state-of-the-art film storage and preservation facility in Hamlin, Pennsylvania, that would be solely owned and run by MoMA. Opened in 1996, The Celeste Bartos Film Preservation Center is home to one of the world’s most important collections of film art. Yet Mrs. Bartos’s support extended beyond brick and mortar; she also endowed a Chief Curator of Film position and established The Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation, which has been the major source of funding for MoMA’s world-renowned preservation activities for over three decades.
The remarkable selection of films in this series illustrates the scope of conservation work carried out by the Department of Film, work that has in large part been facilitated by the dedication and support of a forward-thinking philanthropist and movie lover. The staff of the Department of Film will dearly miss our champion, Celeste Bartos.
Organized by Anne Morra, Associate Curator, Department of Film.
Image: A Damsel in Distress. 1937. USA. Directed by George Stevens