Arts, News

Portraits of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will begin 5-city tour in Chicago

Portrait of President Barack Obama

Portraits of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama will go on display at the Art Institute of Chicago as the first stop in a five-city tour beginning in the summer of 2021.

Chicago is where the Obamas began their historical ascension to the White House.

The paintings, on loan from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, are Kehinde Wiley’s painting of President Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama.

Portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama

The former First Lady, a Chicago native who grew up on the city’s South Side, visited the museum with her family. The Art Institute also was the site of the couple’s first date.

Wiley and Sherald are the first African American artists commissioned by the National Gallery to create official portraits of a President and a First Lady.

Wiley placed President Obama in a chair against a backdrop of flowers, including chrysanthemums, Chicago’s official flower. Sherald painted the First Lady against a light-blue ground, gazing directly at the viewer.

After the Art Institute, the portraits will travel to The Brooklyn Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

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