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“The Obama Portraits”

  • Art, Painting
  • Recommended
obama portrait
© 2018 Kehinde Wiley. Courtesy of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.Kehinde Wiley. Barack Obama, 2018. Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. The National Portrait Gallery is grateful to the following lead donors for their support of the Obama portraits: Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg; Judith Kern and Kent Whealy; Tommie L.Pegues and Donald A. Capoccia.

Time Out says

The Obamas are coming back to Chicago, in portrait form! Paintings of President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama that debuted at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery begin a nationwide tour at the Art Institute of Chicago, where the couple shared their first date.

Unveiled in 2018, the Obama portraits are notable for their striking modern appearances and use of bright colors, standing in contrast to past presidential portraits that favored a classical style and a somber palette. Painted by Kehinde Wiley, Barack Obama's portrait depicts the president against a wall of foliage, with flowers symbolizing his heritage (including Chicago's official flower, the chrysanthemum) peeking through the leaves. The portrait of Michelle Obama by artist Amy Sherald renders the former First Lady in shades of grey, wearing a designer dress in front of a vivid blue backdrop.

The two paintings only stick around Chicago until August 15, before making their way to Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston.


Included in museum admission
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