Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama returned to the White House Wednesday, to unveil their official portraits.
The two were joined by President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and several members of the Obama administration.
“Barack and Michelle, welcome home,” President Biden said during the ceremony.
“It’s great to be back,” Obama said to laughter. He also thanked President Biden and Vice President Harris for their hospitality.
The Obama portrait shows the 44th president in a black suit with a grey tie standing against a white background. Obama selected artist Robert McCurdy to paint the portrait and sat for photographs that the artist took as a basis for the painting.
The portrait of Mrs. Obama was painted by artist Sharon Sprung and shows the first lady wearing a strapless blue gown while seated on a sofa in the White House.
In an interview with the White House Historical Association’s recent edition of its “1600 Sessions” podcast, Sprung said she met with the Obamas in the Oval Office and described the process of working with the first lady. Sprung said she initially planned on having Mrs. Obama stand for the portrait — “to give it a certain dignity,” but said Obama “has so much dignity that I decided to do it sitting just because … it was too much looking up at her. I’m that much shorter than her.”
The White House Historical Association says on its website that the organization has funded official presidential portraits since 1965.
A previously unveiled set of paintings of the Obamas was done for the National Portrait Gallery.