Active Presence: The Obama Portraits in Context of the National Portrait Gallery’s 50th Anniversary

The unveiling of the Obama portraits in February 2018 has transformed the National Portrait Gallery’s attendance. Leading up to the unveiling, Portrait gallery curators and historians were already working on exhibitions and programming that would increase the museum’s relevance in today’s world. Dorothy Moss, curator of painting and sculpture at the portrait gallery, will discuss the impact of the Obama portraits and will place these two portraits in the context of ongoing work to reimagine the National Portrait Gallery in its 50th anniversary year. Made possible with support from the Mesaros Fund.

Image credit: Amy Sherald, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama, (cropped) 2018, oil on linen. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. The National Portrait Gallery is grateful to the following lead donors for their support of the Obama portraits: Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg; Judith Kern and Kent Whealy; Tommie L. Pegues and Donald A. Capoccia.