After returning from my two-day mini vacation to visit Monticello, Highland and Montpelier and before taking the train back to New York, I had time for a visit to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. D.C. I had never been before, and I was most interested in seeing the new portraits of President Obama by Kehinde Wiley and Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald.
I found myself wanting to take pictures of all the presidential portraits, but I had to constrain myself. Some, such as those of Obama, Clinton and Kennedy, are nontraditional, while many others are classic portraits. Interestingly, Nixon’s is by Norman Rockwell and is very small. Out of all the portraits, though, I was particularly moved those of the Obamas. Michelle’s portrait is in a different section of the museum.
Also in a different section was “Unseen: Our Past in a New Light,” a selection of “deconstructed portraits” by Titus Kaphar, who offers a completely shocking yet instantly understandable take on our country’s founding fathers. In one, an enslaved woman peeks out from behind a curtain that is a portrait of Thomas Jefferson. On another wall, two of George Washington’s slaves are seen in fancy clothes with their faces obscured.