Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama's official White House portraits were unveiled at the White House on Sept. 7. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)

President Joe Biden welcomed former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, to the White House on Wednesday (Sept. 7) for the formal unveiling of their official White House portraits.

Biden greeted the couple with, “Barack and Michelle, welcome home.”

Artist Robert McCurdy painted the former president, and Sharon Sprung painted the former first lady. McCurdy most often paints in photorealistic style. Sprung used her own photographs to craft her portrait of Mrs. Obama. 

Obama is depicted in a black suit with a gray tie, and Mrs. Obama is dressed in blue as she sits on a red sofa in the Red Room. 

Obama brought the crowd to laughter when he shared this thoughts about the portraits. “I want to thank Sharon Sprung for capturing everything I love about Michelle: Her grace, her intelligence, and the fact that she’s fine!” He continued, “And I want to thank Robert McCurdy for taking on a much more difficult subject, and doing a fantastic job with mine.” 

The Obama Foundation introduced the portrait artists with a video to commemorate the unveiling.

The White House Historical Association commissions official White House portraits. They are distinct from the more stylistic renderings of the former president and first lady painted by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. Those, commissioned by the Smithsonian and unveiled in 2018, have been viewed on national tour before being installed in the National Portrait Gallery.

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama’s official White House portraits were unveiled at the White House on Sept. 7. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)

This afternoon’s unveiling was Michelle Obama’s first return to the White House since the former first family departed the White House after Barack Obama’s two terms as president ended in 2017. The former president was at the White House in April where he reunited with his former vice president to recognize the anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act. 

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