Archive for February 19th, 2018

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Presidents’ Day

February 19, 2018

President portrait unveiled

On February 12 at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery former President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were present for the unveiling of their portraits. In the late 1990s the gallery began commissioning portraits of presidents, beginning with George H.W. Bush. The  gallery is part of the Smithsonian group of museums and has the only complete collection of presidential portraits outside of The White House.

Imagine being selected to paint the Obama’s or any presidents portrait? I wonder who the artists art teachers were? I’m guessing that they are both pretty proud!

It was quite and honor for Kehinde Wiley who painted the former president. Wiley is an artist best known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African-Americans.

Amy Sherald was the artist who painted the former first lady. Amy is from Baltimore and is known for her unique styles, and her portraits tend to underscore themes of social justice.  Both artists developed relationships with the former president and first lady.  Sherald’s work is less about realism in composition and more about shape and color. Sherald and Wiley are the first African-American artists to create Smithsonian-commissioned portraits of a former president and first lady.

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