Amy Sherald

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Amy Sherald
Born (1973-08-30) August 30, 1973 (age 46)
Alma mater
Known forOfficial Portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama

Amy Sherald (born August 30, 1973) is an American painter based in Baltimore, Maryland.

She is best known for her portrait paintings. Her choices of subjects look to enlarge the genre of American art historical realism by telling African-American stories within their own tradition.[1]


She received a B.A. degree in painting in 1997 Clark Atlanta University. After an apprenticeship to Dr. Arturo Lindsay, Art History professor at Spelman College,[2] she attended the Maryland Institute College of Art, receiving an M.F.A. degree in painting in 2004.[3] She followed up her studies with painter Odd Nerdrum in Larvik, Norway.[4]


First Lady Portrait[edit]

On February 12, 2018 the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery unveiled Sherald's portrait of Michelle Obama making her the first African-American woman to paint an official First Lady portrait. During a double portrait unveiling ceremony attended by both Obamas she and Kehinde Wiley were revealed not only as the first black artists to make official presidential portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, but also as artists who each early on prioritized African-American portraiture. Holland Cotter noted in a review that they both blend fact and fiction in their portraiture.[5][6][7]


Based in Baltimore MD, Amy Sherald documents contemporary African-American experience in the United States through arresting, otherworldly portraits, often working from photographs of strangers she encounters on the streets. She gave a talk on the theme of empathy for CreativeMornings/Baltimore on November 5, 2015.[8]

Personal life[edit]

In 1997 she participated in Spelman College International Artist-in-Residence program in Portobelo, Panama. She prepared and curated shows in the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo and the 1999 South American Biennale in Lima, Peru. She has taught art in the Baltimore City Detention Center,[9] and in 2008 she did a residency the Tongxian Art Center in Beijing, China.[10]

Sherald was diagnosed at the age of 30 with congestive heart failure. She was the recipient of a heart transplant in December 18, 2012 at the age of 39.[11]


Public collections[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kennicott, Philip (May 14, 2018). "Painting Michelle Obama brought Amy Sherald fame. Now, the artist wants to make works 'to rest your eyes.'". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Amy Sherald". National Museum of Women in the Arts. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  3. ^ McCauley, Mary Carole (December 19, 2016). "Equipped with new heart, Baltimore's Amy Sherald gains fame with surreal portraiture". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  4. ^ "Amy Sherald Wins National Gallery Portrait Competition". BmoreArt | Baltimore Contemporary Art. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  5. ^ "Michelle Obama portrait by Baltimore artist Amy Sherald makes national splash". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  6. ^ "Watch: Unveiling of President and Mrs. Obama's Portraits at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery". Updates. Obama Foundation. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  7. ^ Cotter, Holland (2018-02-12). "Obama Portraits Blend Paint and Politics, and Fact and Fiction". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-12.
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c d e Robin Pogrebin (October 23, 2017), After a Late Start, an Artist’s Big Break: Michelle Obama’s Official Portrait New York Times.
  10. ^ Hill, The University of North Carolina at Chapel. "The Magical Real-ism of Amy Sherald - Gallery Exhibition - UNC Stone Center". Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  11. ^ Sanders, Marlisla. "Amy Sherald, A Second Life". IRAAA Museum. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  12. ^ Lindsay, Arturo, ed. (February 3 – April 22, 2011). "The Magic Real-ism of Amy Sherald" (PDF).
  13. ^ "Amy Sherald: Paintings | Reginald F. Lewis Museum". Archived from the original on 2018-03-26. Retrieved 2018-03-25.
  14. ^ "The Studio Museum in Harlem". Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  15. ^ "Amy Sherald". Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. 2018-07-03. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  16. ^ "Museum of Fine Art | Spelman College". Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  17. ^ Smith, Roberta (2019-09-12). "Amy Sherald's Shining Second Act". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-05.

External links[edit]