September 9, 2022
Photo by: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
The Obamas are back in the White House and this time it is permanent!
They reunited with current President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden to unveil their official portraits and introduce the artists who painted these portraits.
“When this project came up, it was just perfect because it saved us the trouble of having to ask him,” artist Robert McCurdy shared.
Former President Barack Obama chose McCurdy to paint his picture. He is already on McCurdy’s list of potential subjects. McCurdy is known for his hyper-realistic artwork of notable individuals including Toni Morrison, the Dalai Lama, and Jeff Bezos.
“When future generations walk these halls and look up at these portraits, I hope they get a better and honest sense of who Michelle and I were and I hope they leave with a deeper understanding that if we could make it here, maybe they can too. They can do remarkable things too,” former President Obama expressed.
Barack’s photo-realistic painting, featuring him wearing a black suit and grey tie against a stark white background, was painted from pictures that McCurdy shot of the president.
McCurdy claims that he only works on one piece at a time and that it usually takes him 12 to 18 months to finish it.
The former first lady Michelle chose artist Sharon Sprung to take her photo to use for her painted portrait.
“I just kept saying, I want to do this. I hope this works out. I really want to do this. I’m good for this. And I had told my friends that I had wanted to paint Michelle a while ago,” Sprung expressed.
Much like McCurdy, Sprung based her painting of Obama in a blue dress sitting on a sofa in the Red Room on photos she took in the White House.
As she discussed the revealing of their portraits, Michelle Obama became passionate as she spoke, stating that the day was not about her or the pictures, but rather about showcasing what is possible in America and criticizing Washington’s hyper partisanship.
“And as much as some folks might want us to believe that that story has lost some of its shine, that division and discrimination and everything else might have dimmed its light, I still know, deep in my heart, that what we share as my husband continues to say is so much bigger than what we don’t. Our democracy is so much stronger than our differences,” she stated.
According to Stewart McLaurin, head of the White House Historical Association, the practice of publicly displaying presidential portraits as we know them now began in 1978 under the Carter administration.
We absolutely love the Obama’s portraits!