Former President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were joined by a who’s who of their administration – and some Hollywood types too – for the official unveiling of their portraits at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.
‘That’s pretty sharp,’ Mr. Obama said as he and artist Kehinde Wiley pulled the cloth off Obama’s portrait, which showed the former president in a tie-less get-up, seated, surrounded by a floral motif.
Michelle Obama’s portrait, created by Amy Sherald, had been unveiled first, and the former president quickly applauded the artist for capturing the ‘hotness of the woman that I love.’
Both of the Obamas talked about the intimate process of getting their portrait painted, including the fact that each artist had to interview with the then-president and first lady in the Oval Office. The Obamas noted how neither had sat for a portrait before, with the former president calling attention to his high school yearbook photo saying it was ‘no great shakes.’
‘I am a little overwhelmed to say the least,’ the former first lady confessed upon seeing the work, which depicted the style icon wearing a patterned Milly dress, specifically designed for the sitting. Michelle Obama said she was drawn to Sherald immediately, calling the bespectacled portraitist ‘cute’ and ‘fly.’