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December 13, 2011

Hoover Receives Unique Portrait Collection from the Bernard Lee Schwartz Foundation

British prime minister Margaret Thatcher
Image credit: Bernard Lee Schwartz
British prime minister Margaret Thatcher
Journalist and author Malcolm Muggeridge
Image credit: Bernard Lee Schwartz
Journalist and author Malcolm Muggeridge
US secretary of state Henry Kissinger
Image credit: Bernard Lee Schwartz
US secretary of state Henry Kissinger
Lord Mountbatten
Image credit: Bernard Lee Schwartz
Lord Mountbatten

The Bernard Lee Schwartz Foundation has donated a collection of thirty-four portraits to the Hoover Institution. Among the images are those of royalty, heads of state, diplomats, military leaders, and literary figures. Michael Schwartz, president of the Schwartz Foundation and son of Bernard “Bern” Schwartz, coordinated the donation.

Included in the donation are portraits of Hoover fellow and British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, four Israeli prime ministers, and journalist and author Malcolm Muggeridge. Lady Thatcher chose Schwartz’s portrait for her 1978 campaign poster, and a 1982 commemorative first-day cover commemorative stamp in England features his classic portrait of Lord Mountbatten. Muggeridge, a journalist, author, satirist, and television personality, was a frequent panelist on William F. Buckley Jr.’s Firing Line, and a collection of his papers is housed in the Hoover Institution Archives.

“We believe these portraits bring together art and history. We're delighted and honored to have the collection included in the Hoover Archives,” stated Michael Schwartz.

Bern Schwartz took up photography at the age of sixty after a successful career in business. In that short career, Bern (who died at sixty-four) captured some two hundred distinguished personalities on film.

Combining extensive research on his subjects’ interests with his own considerable experience and charm, Schwartz was able to converse intelligently and establish the rapport necessary to create portraits of unsurpassed quality that captured the essence of his subjects. His photographic encounters often ripened into enduring friendships with some of the world’s leading figures.

“I believe historians … will find these photographs an invaluable guide to the intellectual life of the time,” art historian Kenneth Clark wrote in his foreword to Contemporaries: Portraits by Bern Schwartz. “Meanwhile, we can enjoy them as wholly admirable examples of the art of photography.”

Click here for more information about the Bern Schwartz collection.