Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama’s widely popular paintings are going on tour and their first stop is Chicago.
Both paintings will depart from the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., for the first time since renowned unveil nearly two years ago.
The year-long, five-city tour will begin at Downtown Chicago’s #1 Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, in June of 2021.
“There’s a very special relationship between not only the City of Chicago, but between our museum and the President and the first lady, said James Rondeau, Art Institute President, and Eloise W. Martin Director. “We’re still, especially in Chicago, very much in the present tense with President and Mrs. Obama. So, yes, this notion of the kind of living history feels very, very powerful to me,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Kehinde Wiley beautifully painted the oil on canvas portrait titled “Barack Obama” and Amy Sherald crafted her oil on linen portrait of the former first lady titled “Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama.”
The non-traditional artwork has doubled the gallery’s attendance since their grand reveals in February 2018.
New York City’s Brooklyn Museum will hold the Obama portraits from (Aug. - Oct.), following Los Angeles County’s Museum of Art (Nov.-Jan. 2022), the High Museum of Art in Atlanta (Jan. - March), and Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts (March-May).
As to what will hang in the absence of the Obamas’ portraits while they are on the nationwide tour, the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution is still undecided.