Baltimore artist Amy Sherald selected to paint official portrait of Michelle Obama

Marco Green
October 15, 2017

The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery announced yesterday that Obama has selected artist Kehinde Wiley to paint his official presidential portrait. That sounds like a boring and unremarkable process, and it would be, except that Barack and Michelle Obama have made the coolest choices in the gallery's history: Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald.

In a City Paper review of the exhibit "About Face" that ran earlier this year, critic Angela Carroll wrote that Sherald's "portraits exist in a dimension all their own".

With their impressive track records, we're sure Sherald and Wiley will create epic portraits for the first black presidential couple of the United States. His rich, highly saturated color palette and his use of decorative patterns complement his realistic, yet expressive, likenesses.

Wiley is likely the most renowned modern portrait artist, but despite his fame he's an unorthodox choice for such a buttoned-down venue.

The Baltimore-based Amy Sherald, who paints minimalist pictures of black Americans is less well-known than Wiley. Sherald and Wiley are the first African-American artists hired by the Smithsonian to paint a president and first lady, the Journal reports. They will be paid for their commissioned paintings through private donations.

The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Connect with the museum at its website (, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and the museum's blog.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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