Bank of America is the National Sponsor of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery’s The Obama Portraits Tour.
The Obama Portraits Tour, a traveling exhibition of the official portraits of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama by artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, continue their tour at the de Young Museum in San Francisco (on view through August 14) and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (September 3 - October 30). Previous venues include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, High Art Museum of Art, Atlanta and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The Portrait Gallery’s commissioned paintings of the Obamas have garnered international attention. The tour, which was initiated by popular demand from museums across the country and the Portrait Gallery’s mission to broaden discussions on portraiture, launched in Chicago, June 18, 2021, where it consistently broke daily attendance records for the Art Institute of Chicago before traveling to the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
The paintings were commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery and revealed in a special unveiling ceremony on February 12, 2018, attended by the Obamas and the artists. Wiley and Sherald are the first Black artists selected for the National Portrait Gallery’s official portraits of a President or First Lady.
The National Portrait Gallery was authorized and founded by Congress in 1962 with the mission to acquire and display portraits of individuals who have made significant contributions to the history, development, and culture of the United States. In the late 1990s, the Portrait Gallery began commissioning portraits of presidents, beginning with George H. W. Bush.