The first commissioned presidential portraits by African American artists, the paintings of Barack and Michelle Obama, by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively, reside in the National Portrait Gallery, where they drew an additional million visitors in their first year on exhibit. In this comprehensive study compiled by Gallery staff including Moss, curator of painting and sculpture, and Caragol, the first curator for Latino art, history, painting and sculpture, a diverse group of historians assesses the paintings and their impact on American and African American history and culture; the volume also includes interviews with the artists, transcripts of the Obamas’ remarks at the February 12, 2018 unveiling, and photos from the sittings by Pete Souza.
About the Author
Taína Caragol is curator of painting and sculpture and Latino art and history at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Dorothy Moss is curator of painting and sculpture at the National Portrait Gallery, where she also directs the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition and serves as coordinating curator of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative. Richard J. Powell is the John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History at Duke University and the author of Cutting a Figure: Fashioning Black Portraiture and Black Art: A Cultural History, among other books. Kim Sajet is director of the National Portrait Gallery.