WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery announces the final chance to view the popular portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald before it departs Washington, D.C. for a five-stop national tour with Kehinde Wiley’s iconic portrait of President Barack Obama. The Obama Portraits Tour will begin in Chicago on June 18 and will continue across the United States through May 30, 2022 before returning to Washington.
The Obama portraits will appear at the following five U.S. museums: The Art Institute of Chicago from June 18, 2021–Aug. 15, 2021; the Brooklyn Museum in New York from Aug. 27, 2021–Oct. 24, 2021; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in Los Angeles from Nov. 7, 2021–Jan. 2, 2022; the High Museum of Art in Atlanta from Jan. 14, 2022–March 13, 2022; and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston from March 27, 2022–May 30, 2022.
The tour is one of several national initiatives set by the Portrait Gallery to engage communities in the power of portraiture. Visitors hoping for a last look at the portrait of Michelle Obama before its departure can view the painting, alongside the featured gown designed by Michelle Smith’s label Milly, through May 23 as part of the special exhibition Every Eye Is Upon Me: First Ladies of the United States. Free, timed-entry passes for all ages in accordance with social-distancing policies can be reserved at si.edu/visit/passes. Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of former President Barack Obama is no longer on display and will be next exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago when the tour begins.
From the moment of their unveiling in February 2018, the Portrait Gallery’s commissioned portraits of the Obamas have inspired unprecedented responses from the public. As part of the museum’s mission to encourage conversations surrounding the power of portraiture and to engage communities nationwide, it has organized a tour to bring these paintings to millions of Americans who might not otherwise be able to visit the nation’s capital.
The Obama Portraits Tour will also feature an audio-visual element, educational workshops, curatorial presentations, and a richly illustrated book. The Obama Portraits (2020), co-published by the National Portrait Gallery and Princeton University Press, and other related merchandise can be purchased through the museum’s store at saamnpgstore.si.edu.
The National Portrait Gallery recognizes the lead donors to the Obama portraits: Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg; Judith Kern and Kent Whealy; Tommie L. Pegues and Donald A. Capoccia; Clarence, DeLoise and Brenda Gaines; The Stoneridge Fund of Amy and Marc Meadows; Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker; and Catherine and Michael Podell.
The Obama Portraits Tour is organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Support for the national tour has been provided by Bank of America. For more on the tour, visit npg.si.edu/obamaportraitstour. A complete list of the museum’s traveling exhibitions and locations can be found on the Portrait Gallery’s website.
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