Barack and Michelle Obama’s Portraits Are Heading to LACMA

The wildly popular portraits are hitting the road

The official paintings of Barack and Michelle Obama are going on a whistle-stop tour. The Obama portrait tour will bring the works, which have been wildly popular with visitors since going on display at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in 2018, to five museums across the country, including LACMA.

LACMA will be the third stop for the paintings after they leave D.C.; the portraits are expected to be on view here from November 2021 to January 2022. Other stops on the tour include the Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York City, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

obama portrait tour
Portrait of President Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley

Image courtesy Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery / © Kehinde Wiley

The portraits by Kehinde Wiley, a native Angeleno, and Amy Sherald have become some of the most-visited works in the National Portrait Gallery. In the first year the images were on view, attendance at the museum jumped from 1.1 million visitors to 2.3 million.

“We call it ‘the Obama effect,’ but I think it was a little bit more than just those pictures. I think what happened was there was so much interest in them, but there was also an awakening across the country that the portrait gallery exists,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, told the Chicago Tribune.

obama portrait tour
Portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald

Image courtesy Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery / © Amy Sherald


RELATED: Get to Know the L.A.-Born Artist Who Created Barack Obama’s Official Portrait

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