The Obamas' Official Portraits Are Unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery

| FEB 12, 2018 | 6:23 PM
obama_portrait

Barack and Michelle Obama, the former president and first lady, had their official portraits unveiled Monday at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

As befitting the first African-American couple to live in the White House, the portraits were the first of a president and first lady to be painted by African-American artists.

President Obama's portrait, which he termed “pretty sharp,” was painted in bold colors by Kehinde Wiley and showed Obama seated against a backdrop of flowers. Michelle Obama's portrait was painted by Amy Sherald, a Baltimore-based artist who focuses on social justice issues, and was done in a more muted palette. Though the former president was also impressed that Sherald captured his wife's “hotness.”

Michelle Obama was a bit more reflective, telling the crowd: “I'm thinking of all the girls of color who will come and see someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this great American institution. And I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives.”

The artists attended the unveiling, which gave them an opportunity to talk about the intent of their work:

The unveiling also gave Twitter users a chance for some jokes:

The portraits will be displayed at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.