High Museum of Art
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High Museum of Art

Meet Amy Sherald, Michelle Obama’s Portrait Painter

Join us in Sherald’s studio for an inside look at her process and the inspiration behind her historic portrait.

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

Michelle Obama and Amy Sherald stand on stage on either side of a large portrait of Michelle.
Amy Sherald presented her portrait of Mrs. Obama at the National Portrait Gallery’s unveiling ceremony. © 2018 Pete Souza

The Obama Portraits Tour has arrived in Atlanta! The exhibition, on view at the High through March 20, features the official portraits of President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama painted by artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. Both Sherald and Wiley made history as the first Black artists to create presidential portraits for the National Portrait Gallery.

A native of Columbus, Georgia, Sherald is acclaimed for her profound and distinctive portraits of Black subjects. In 2018, we visited Sherald in her Baltimore studio, where she shared reflections on her experience painting Michelle Obama, what she looks for in a portrait sitter, and how her paintings are like her grandmother’s vintage photographs.

In the video below, hear from Sherald and see inside her studio.

Video by Ashley Wills.

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