Portraits of the Obamas Revealed in DC

'That's pretty sharp,' former president says of Kehinde Wiley's likeness of him
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 12, 2018 11:12 AM CST
Obama on His Newly Unveiled Portrait: 'That's Pretty Sharp'
Former President Obama speaks at the unveiling ceremony for the Obamas' official portraits at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery on Monday in Washington.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The National Portrait Gallery has unveiled portraits of former President Obama and Michelle Obama. Barack Obama's portrait was painted by Kehinde Wiley, an artist best known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African-Americans. For Michelle Obama's portrait, the gallery commissioned Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald, first-prize winner of the gallery's 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, the AP notes. The paintings were unveiled Monday at the gallery, which is part of the Smithsonian group of museums. The gallery has a complete collection of presidential portraits. "How about that? That's pretty sharp," the former president said as he caught a first glimpse of the Yale-trained Wiley's portrait, per CNN.

Obama also joked he tried to "negotiate" with Wiley to give him smaller ears and not too much gray hair. As for Michelle Obama, she said she was "a little overwhelmed" at seeing Sherald's likeness of her and thought about the impact it would have on "girls and girls of color." "They will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the walls of this great American institution," she said. "And I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives because I was one of those girls." No. 44 was even more effusive. "Amy, I want to thank you for so spectacularly capturing the grace and beauty and intelligence and charm and hotness of the woman I love," he said.

(More Barack Obama stories.)

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