High Museum of Art
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High Museum of Art

Five Cities. Two Portraits. One Tour. The #ObamaPortraitsTour Comes to the High Museum of Art in 2022

The official portraits of President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama have captivated millions in D.C. — and now they’re coming to Atlanta!

By Eva Berlin, Digital Content Specialist, High Museum of Art

The two official portraits of Barack Obama and Michelle Obama by artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald.
“Barack Obama” by Kehinde Wiley, oil on canvas, 2018. © 2018 Kehinde Wiley. “Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama” by Amy Sherald, oil on linen, 2018. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. The National Portrait Gallery is grateful to the following lead donors for their support of the Obama portraits: Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg; Judith Kern and Kent Whealy; Tommie L. Pegues and Donald A. Capoccia.

The stunning portraits will be on view as part of The Obama Portraits Tour at the High Museum of Art from January 14 to March 13, 2022.

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.

Video Credit: The Obama Portraits Tour video. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

The paintings were commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery and revealed in a special unveiling ceremony Feb. 12, 2018, in the presence of President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, and the artists. Wiley and Sherald are the first African American artists to have been selected for the National Portrait Gallery’s official portraits of a President or First Lady.

In addition to the artworks themselves, The Obama Portraits Tour will feature audio-visual elements, Portrait Gallery-led teacher workshops, curatorial presentations, and a richly illustrated book (National Portrait Gallery and Princeton University Press). This special presentation will enhance the conversations surrounding the power of portraiture and its potential to engage communities.


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