From the moment of their unveiling at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in February 2018, the museum’s official portraits of President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama have become iconic. Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of the former First Lady have inspired unprecedented responses from the public.
The Obama Portraits Tour, organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, will travel to five cities across the U.S. from June 2021 through May 2022 and is expected to reach millions of people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to view these remarkable paintings. In addition to the artworks themselves, The Obama Portraits Tour will feature audio-visual elements, educational workshops, and curatorial presentations. A richly illustrated book entitled The Obama Portraits (2020), co-published by the National Portrait Gallery and Princeton University Press, and select merchandise will also be available. This special presentation will exchange the conversations surrounding the power of portraiture and its potential to engage communities.
Tour locations include:
- The Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago—June 18, 2021–Aug. 15, 2021
- Brooklyn Museum; Brooklyn, New York—Aug. 27, 2021–Oct. 24, 2021
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Los Angeles—Nov. 7, 2021–Jan. 2, 2022
- High Museum of Art; Atlanta—Jan. 14, 2022–March 13, 2022
- The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Houston—March 27, 2022–May 30, 2022
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery recognizes the lead donors to the Obama portraits: Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg; Judith Kern and Kent Whealy; Tommie L. Pegues and Donald A. Capoccia; Clarence, DeLoise and Brenda Gaines; The Stoneridge Fund of Amy and Marc Meadows; Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker; and Catherine and Michael Podell.
The Obama Portraits Tour is organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Support for the national tour has been generously provided by Bank of America.
Follow along on social media @smithsoniannpg, #ObamaPortraitsTour.
Read more about these portraits:
The National Portrait Gallery is grateful to the generous donors who made these commissions possible and proudly recognizes them on the pages above.
Images: (L) Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley, 2018, oil on canvas, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. © 2018 Kehinde Wiley. (R) Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (detail) by Amy Sherald, 2018, oil on linen, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.