Michelle Obama Chose an Acclaimed Black Woman from Georgia to Paint Her Official Portrait

 photo AmySheraldHeadshot.jpgMichelle Obama tapped Amy Sherald to paint the portrait of her that will hang in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

Sherald, 44, is an acclaimed portraitist who, last year, beat 2,500 artists to become the first African-American and first woman to win the National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2004 and teaches there now.

Born in Columbus, Georgia, she knew she wanted to be a painter early and committed herself to art. She interned for years and supported herself by waiting tables until she could afford to paint full-time at 38.

She is known for life-size portraits of Black subjects, often with grey skintones.
Diagnosed with congestive heart failure at 30, Sherald has not had an easy road. She underwent a heart transplant at 39.

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The painting of Mrs. Obama will be unveiled next year.