Columns at museum's entrance

Highlights from the Obama Portrait Unveiling

February 15, 2018

On Feb. 12, 2018, the National Portrait Gallery welcomed President Obama, Mrs. Obama, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald to unveil new commissioned portraits of the former president and first lady. Check out some of the highlights from the event, and see the painting in person at the museum now. 

Thumbnail © 2018 Pete Souza


HORRIBLE! This painting does NOT represent how he should be viewed for posterity. This does not look presidential; future generations will be wondering why he's the only president sitting surrounded by flowers, and no one will be there to explain it to them. I have not spoken to one person who like this painting. PLEASE HAVE IT REDONE.

I loved the President's picture. However, I didn't get the same feeling for Mrs. Obama. Maybe when I see it in person this summer I will change my mind

Both portraits are not in keeping with presidential style, but is appropriate and typical for the Obamas.

Remarkable portraits of remarkable people! The Obamas will be in our minds and hearts forever. And blessings to them and the very talented artists!

I see the President, and I get the casual pose. However, I do not understand the flowers?. I mean why not at his desk in the Oval? Or maybe at a podium giving one of his many speeches? But sitting in a chair surrounded by, by whatever the hell it is. Sorry, I think h needs to have this artist, which seems to be very talented. Have the portrait re-commissioned and have the look as The first black President of These United States. Not something totally unrealistic. As for the portrait of the first lady. It does not look like her. Period. You can tout artistic privilege. You can say that's how the artist had seen her, with a slight glow, smoother. But that is all poppy clock. It does not look like her. I think both of these need moved to the warehouse and put there instead a couple portraits that show these two individuals in the proper setting. And at least have them look like they actually do. Give these two individuals the proper respect they deserve. The First black President and First Lady I think demand more respect and attention to detail. These portraits will be around a hell of a lot longer than I will, I hope. They need done with the respect, the power, the greatness of their position. Of course this is all just my opinion. Don Lynch

like it very much, its capture many of our ongoing history and the greatness of the personalities!

Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have shown, again, the grace and beauty of our previous First Couple. Thank you! Thank you also to Pete Souza for all those wonderful photographs...

Fabulous both of them and their reasoning. I love and miss this family as my first family so much but so grateful for the time we had to experience their grace, beauty and intelligence

A Presidential Portrait that truly displays the man behind the Title- The humanitarian with integrity. The man with a soul. The portrait of Mrs. Obama is so much more than a wife of the President- it displays her vibrancy and love of life. These are truly two great Portraits!

I WAS THERE!!! By coincidence and with great joy I entered the museum at 11:30 with a long line of very excited people of all ages!! We live in Texas and The Portrait Gallery/American Art Smithsonian is always our first stop on our annual trip each February!! The portraits are so well done and thoughtful and having the first African American artists in such a venue with the Obama’s is right on the mark.

Disappointed in both portraits. Why is Mr Obama sitting in the leaves...in a suit? I don't think Mrs. Obama's portrait looks like her.

Dear artistes, Thank you very much for your creativity in painting portraits of our exceedingly fine President Barrack Obama and his wife Michelle. Both are very nicely rendered and designed, but a couple of things struck me immediately: despite the wonderful design, I would never, for a moment, have recognized Michelle Obama, in every way. I find this disappointing, naturally. With regard to Obama, yes, it is indubitaly him. Only issue here: all those leaves, and then some. Where are we? Can't even recognize the type of foilage. So, sorry. Lots of lovely parts, but significant anomolies, too. Main one: can that REALLY be Michelle? With thanks to the artistes, Elizabeth Wright

I find President Obama and Mrs Obama's Portraits wonderful. But I always found that the First Lady is more attractive than her rendition in the painting. I miss them both!

Love the different take of the Portraits -- but could do with a few less leaves on the Prez's & an update of color for Michelle -- last time I looked she wasn't grey but a lucious shade of brown.

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