Over the weekend, a painting of former president Barack Obama was making the rounds on social media, with users assuming it was his official post-presidency portrait — a shocking development because in the picture in question, the 44th president was depicted wearing that infamous tan suit that got him so much flak (remember “the audacity of taupe”). Of course, it turned out not to be the real deal (it seemed to be just fan art by a Dutch painter combined with a dash of wishful thinking), but it made us think we should check in on the progress of the actual framing of the ex-prez.
Presidential portraits typically take a year or two from start to finish, per the White House Historical Association, and work on Obama’s portrait only started once he left the White House, an association spokeswoman tells us.
We don’t know which artists the Obamas selected (the president and first lady typically choose who will paint their likenesses), and the association spokeswoman was mum on the artists’ identities. By tradition, two portraits are done of each the president and first lady — one to hang in the White House and the other in the National Portrait Gallery. And before the fiscal hawks start squawking, we should note that the association, not the American taxpayers, foot the bill for the artwork.