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The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery has unveiled the official portraits of former president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.
— Smithsonian (@smithsonian) February 12, 2018
The official portraits of the couple represent the first time African American artists have been commissioned to paint an official presidential portrait for the National Portrait Gallery.
Obama chose artist Kehinde Wiley for his official portrait joking, “I tried to negotiate less gray hair, and Kehinde’s artistic integrity would not allow him to do what I asked. I tried to negotiate smaller ears, struck out on that one as well.”
For her part former first lady Michelle Obama chose Baltimore artist Amy Sherald – and Barack Obama was clearly a fan of Amy’s take on his wife, telling the crowd, “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.”
According to the Associated Press, the Obamas studied the portfolios of more than twenty artists before deciding on Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald.