The official portraits of former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were finally unveiled Wednesday, reported the New York Times.
Typically, the portraits are unveiled during the first term of the new administration in a ceremony between the sitting and former President. Trump refused the ceremony, thus delaying the unveiling until Biden’s presidency. The ceremony was again delayed during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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The portrait of Barack Obama was painted by Robert McCurdy, with his trademark white background and photorealist style. Michelle Obama was painted by Sharon Sprung, whose softer touch is a bit more traditional.
The dress selected for the First Lady’s portrait was designed by Jason Wu, the Taiwanese-Canadian designer who designed both of Michelle Obama’s inaugural ball gowns. The color of the dress, a near-Tiffany blue, also brings to mind the dress worn by Breonna Taylor, who was slain by police, in her post-humous portrait that portraitist Amy Sherald painted. No connection, however, has been officially verified.
These painting were commissioned by the White House Historical Association and will hang on the White House walls along with all the other portraits of former Presidents and First Ladies. The famous portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama, painted by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald respectively, were commissioned for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.