What do you think of the official portraits of former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama that have just been unveiled? If you haven’t seen them yet, take a little time to check them out and think about them, and then we’ll talk.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/12/politics/obama-portrait-unveiling/index.html

The Obamas interviewed more than two dozen artists for the distinction of painting their portraits. (Michelle says this is the first portrait she’s ever sat for.) The paintings will be displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, but not side by side; the former President’s portrait will hang, appropriately, in the hall of presidents, while Michelle’s will hang in another gallery. Both paintings are stunningly different from typical “power portraits,” and, considering that President Obama’s portrait will be viewed in the context of those of other Presidents, that incongruence will be much more obvious in his case than in hers.


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Considering that President Obama’s artist, Kehinde Wiley, is an African-American noted for making a statement about power by painting his black subjects in the high-blown style of the Old Masters, this painting seems, well, a little strange. Here, the artist has taken the opposite tack. It’s ironic that in a situation in which a black person in real life has reached the absolute highest level of power attainable by anyone of any race, this artist conveys not a hint of it. Obama is sitting on a “throne” of sorts (a low, carved chair), alone against a blanket of brilliant green ivy –- the purpose of which is “charting his path on Earth,” according to the artist –- that completely fills the canvas, behind him and under his feet. The ivy is studded here and there with pops of colorful and symbolic flowers. It certainly incorporates the President’s Hawaiian roots; he could be wearing a crown of plumeria blossoms in this picture and it wouldn’t seem out of place with his business-casual clothes. Maybe it’s casual Friday, and the office is having a tiki party.

As for the pose and grim expression, I’ll leave it to Internet trolls to create the memes we all know are coming. I feel like staying above that today. (Well, not really, but I’m going to restrain myself.)

Why does the President look so grim? I’d like to think it’s because of Neil Gorsuch being on the Supreme Court or his certainty that the scale of Hillary’s lawbreaking and the Justice Department’s protection of her –-- and, by extension, him –- will eventually see the light of day. When it does, that daylight will be just as bright as the sun that shines on his visage in this beautifully-executed but odd portrait of him.


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……………………

Now, a word about Michelle’s portrait. This is a striking work of art, created by Amy Sherald of Baltimore. Like Wiley, she’s an African artist dedicated to highlighting themes of social justice; that’s one reason she typically de-emphasizes skin tones by painting them in gray, as she has done here. The look is flat and mural-like. Against a background of sky blue, Michelle poses thoughtfully in a dramatic white full-skirted dress enhanced with graphic designs. Not formal-looking, but sophisticated.

One tiny quibble, and maybe it’s just me: Objectively, I suppose it’s a good facial likeness, but if I saw the painting and hadn’t been told it was her, I might not immediately realize that. I might just pass by as one sometimes does with an acquaintance on the street, if that acquaintance looks like a lot of other people. Maybe seeing her portrait up-close-and-in-person, the face would appear less generic. We should all get to the Smithsonian Picture Gallery and have a look at this and other history-making works.

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  • Margaret Kost

    02/14/2018 12:20 PM

    Governor Huckabee, The portrait of Mrs. Obama would to me be unrecognizable unless I knew or read that it was her. Mr. Obama's picture in my interpretation is cartoonish. The background is overwhelming and his love of not sitting still for a picture let alone a portrait shows in the scowl on his face. Not a presidential picture to be hung for observation by future generations. Kehinde Wiley who painted Mr. Obama's picture, stated that he was proud to paint the the first African American president, however, I am sure that Mr. Obama is the first half black and white president of the United States and Mrs. Obama is truly the first African American first lady. Shouldn't we all be American's together and not African/German/Irish/Polish/Italian/Jewish, etc. American's? Why must it be African/American and everyone else are just white American's, which for voting purposes is turning into Illegal Immigrants having the full rights of U.S. citizens under our Constitution? When Russian women pay to come to America, expressly to give birth on U.S. soil just for the newborn to have U.S. birth certificate of citizenship? I digress! Thank you, Governor for your daily articles. I am looking forward to seeing the upcoming show on Israel.

  • grace barbera-bryson

    02/14/2018 12:18 PM

    Looks like what I'd expect. Always trying to be HOLLYWIERD cool. Obama looks like he is at a flower child who is happy smoking his spleef-man. And Michelle is still wearing the same designer tablecloth gowns.

  • Oma Tekoa

    02/14/2018 12:10 PM

    Gov Huckabee, please forgive me but as a person of African decent Obama’s portrait looks like a funeral portrait commonly used in Africa during the burial ceremony of notable family members. As for Michelle, it is not bad, it’s typically her but my personal opinion is that it looks like the portrait of a recovering alcoholic shying away from a glass of liquor. No disrespect intended to persons struggling with alcohol problems, we stand with them in their struggles.

  • Linda Mahan

    02/14/2018 11:57 AM

    I personally thought they were hideous. Hers doesn't even look like her and looks more like an attempt from a "C" student in art class. His looks like something you would see on a St. Patrick's Day card. Needs pointed boots, green hat & a lot of gold!! Ridiculous portraits!!!

  • Nan Wysock

    02/14/2018 11:48 AM

    I am appalled by the fact the his "artist" has painted pictures of black people holding the heads of white people. What an awful statement that makes to the world. I think her painting looks absurd. I should think she would want to be recognizable, and proud to have her beautiful brown skin show in any pictures or paintings of herself. I think these portraits are going to look very much out of place in the same galleries as the other Presidents and First Ladies.

  • Joyce Nease

    02/14/2018 11:42 AM

    I'm sorry, but when I look at the President's portrait it looks like he's sitting in a fairy garden, perhaps asking the fairies for advice. Not dealing with reality. And Michelle's portrait only 'resembles' Michelle.

  • Anne Turner

    02/14/2018 11:27 AM

    Even though I disagree with Michele Obama politically, and do not care for many of her comments, I fully acknowledge that she is an attractive woman in her own right. There was no need to glamorize her, and to not paint a portrait that really looks like her. I cannot imagine what the artist had in mind. She is a mature woman and this painting makes her look like an ad for a cosmetic company, not a dignified, professional woman, wife, and mother. This is typical of how woman must be portrayed as “glamorous” regardless of anything else in their life. As to th artist’s use of gray, what is wrong with portraying a dark skinned black woman of African heritage?

  • Caarole Teater

    02/14/2018 11:27 AM

    She has no class and they hate America and their portrait looks pathetic. nough said

  • Dr. James Burnett

    02/14/2018 11:09 AM

    1. Obama will not get off his ego trips.
    2. Mrs. Obama's picture does not reflect her nature, so it is a cartoon.

  • James Odle

    02/14/2018 10:56 AM

    Obama's portrait looks like a cartoon. I agree with you and many others that Michelle's portrait does not even look like her. Obama's portrait will certainly stand out when viewed adjacent to all the other Presidents.

  • James Odle

    02/14/2018 10:56 AM

    Obama's portrait looks like a cartoon. I agree with you and many others that Michelle's portrait does not even look like her. Obama's portrait will certainly stand out when viewed adjacent to all the other Presidents.

  • Colleen Johnson

    02/14/2018 10:49 AM

    Barack Obama's portrait makes him look like a flower child who is sitting on a toilet. Very fitting for this organized crime president. He is a disgrace to our country.

  • Christine Baldauf

    02/14/2018 10:42 AM

    Personally, I find that portrait of Obama an abstract, since the background distracts so much from the subject. Just like Obama was a sort of nightmare caricature of an American president.... And Michelle's portrait? Such a big & loud a dress take your mind off wwhat was such an unremarkable First Lady.

  • Linda Black

    02/14/2018 10:38 AM

    The portrait may redirect the controversy about where he was born. Was it in a cabbage patch or an ivy patch?

  • Eileen Rigby

    02/14/2018 10:26 AM

    As I heard, Amy Sherold also paints portraits of black people holding severed heads of white people. If this is true, why would The Obama’s pick her to do the portrait? I leave the answer up to you.

  • Donna M. Sims

    02/14/2018 10:26 AM

    I sent this to the National Gallery/Smithsonian yesterday. I mean no disrespect, but this is how I and three of my friends reacted to BO's portrait, independent of each other. What a sad, sad for posterity to view the office:

    Several friends and I - independent of each other- are APPALLED by the portrait of Barack Obama. I am not a BO supporter. However, this portrait is disgraceful. In my wildest dreams, I never would have wished this portrait on my worst enemy! My initial thought was "The painting looks as if he is seated on a toilet." Without saying anything to my acquaintances, their responses were "Looks as if he is being potty trained" or "Looks like he is sitting on an old-fashioned potty-training chair." The dignity of the office of the President was NOT captured in this portrait. It is an embarrassment to the people of this country. (I have viewed some of Mr. Wiley's other works; I realize he has a unique style. However, the dignity he should have captured has been lost in this work).

  • Dr. William D Averett

    02/14/2018 10:24 AM

    Barrack Obama is a subversive to the American way of life. He may not be representing a foreign government but is serving an ideology foreign to America.

  • Shirley Krause

    02/14/2018 10:19 AM

    In my opinion, neither portrait should be a part of the portrait gallery at the Smithsonian! Why on earth did the artist use all the ivy? It will stick out like a sore thumb, but maybe that is what Obama wanted. Unlike any of the other formal portraits of the Presidents, this is hideous! Michelle's portrait on the other hand, unless someone told me, I would never have guessed it was her. I don't like either one and would suggest they have a new portrait painted!

  • Donna Carl

    02/14/2018 10:16 AM

    Are you kidding me? Disgraceful for the office. During her speech before the unveiling all she talked about was race & you wonder why this country is the way it is. The two of them have divided this country more than ever before. Sad.

  • Harry Eich

    02/14/2018 10:06 AM

    The Obama's portraits are indeed odd. I'm not sure what the flowers are in Barrack's portrait, but if you squint your eyes just a little they could be pansies, which are quite appropriate for this "president". Michelle's portrait is also strange. I'm thinking she may have just returned from a quilting bee (quilting bees good!) as her dress seems to be made from a blanket. It is an odd dress to choose, but her taste was always strange. I can only wonder if she was responsible for Barrack's picture as well...

  • Diana Beason

    02/14/2018 10:00 AM

    I'm sure the portraits will provide discussion for tourists for many years to come. If the idea of a portrait is to provide more information than a photograph could, these succeed.

  • Sandy Slinkard

    02/14/2018 09:58 AM

    What a disaster and disappointment..he is showing his “smugness” against the United States and “Michael” still looks like Michael. You can put a dress on a mile but it is still a mule. There is NOTHING Presidential (for first man) with these two corrupt and deranged individuals. Love your columns and look forward to reading and sharing... please keep up the AWESOME work.

  • Sandy Fields

    02/14/2018 09:58 AM

    I'll take my mother's advice here, 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.'

  • Tom Glatting

    02/14/2018 09:50 AM

    Ivy my foot ---- pansies!!!!!!

  • Lee Henry

    02/14/2018 09:42 AM

    not good looking at all something more to forget about than to remember & that goes for them to ..obama should be in jial now & he really needs to be in jail if he did have a surveillance in 2016 ..why has trump not do anything about that ??? & all the other doings of obama ?? what happen to the law we not fallowing it anymore !!!!!???????!!!!!!????? if regular people did that we would be in jail !!!!

  • Ti Michelle Connelly

    02/14/2018 09:40 AM

    Does POTUS Obama have 6 finger on his hand? The portrait id not even Presidential looking like his 2 terms. As for Mrs. Obama it's hideous.

  • Sylvia Williamson

    02/14/2018 09:35 AM

    If I had not known by seeing it in print, I would have thought this picture looked like a "Blooming Idiot!" Not at all impressed with either and they certainly do not resemble Presidential material nor were they really qualified for that role!!!

  • Wanda Rogacki

    02/14/2018 09:34 AM

    I had to laugh out loud when I saw the Obamas portraits. My instinct w/Obama was to label it "Where's Waldo?" The ivy actually looked more like marijuana, and I am sure that was an unconscious fault of the artist. Michelle's reminded me of a second grader's attempt to do a paint by numbers w/crayons...and as you said,"Who in the heck is in the picture, maybe Omarosa? Not Michelle." Not impressive either one. Acually, Obama's would make a great 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. (:

  • Ivy Kovach

    02/14/2018 09:34 AM

    This looks like another attempt by the Obamas to insure that they are not forgotten. As long as they are stirring up controversy, we will keep talking about them. They will most certainly be the topic of conversation as they stand out among the rest in the gallery.

  • David Peterson

    02/14/2018 09:33 AM

    They should hang (for treason) not ina gallery Obama looks as if he sitting in a pot patch and Michelle is trying to mimic Jackie O.a feet she would never have the class to pull off

  • Linda Marie Stanford

    02/14/2018 09:32 AM

    My first impression: Barry as the "green" president, in the full sense of the term--money, energy, and untested. His wife's portrait--who is that? Maybe the artist was able to see Michelle as a better version of herself, without the "expressive" eyebrows.

  • Kathleen Tripp

    02/14/2018 09:30 AM

    These pictures are not great. I think all "Presidential" pics. should actually be presidential. They are the worst "Presidential" pics. I have ever seen and Michelle's doesn't even look like her. If I didn't know it was her I would not know. They should be in the same type of setting they have always been in.... From what I have heard the female artist could be a nut also... LOL

  • Jim Gerrish

    02/14/2018 09:30 AM

    You get what you pay for. Snicker.

  • Kay Manwaring

    02/14/2018 09:30 AM

    Pres. Obama seems to be shown in the middled of his "wonderland" that is not real and Mrs. Obama looks bored. A look that goes well with the disdain of the USA she so often expressed. What I hope to see is what each looks like hanging among the other presidents and first ladies in the museum.

  • Judy Clemence

    02/14/2018 09:27 AM

    I thought, at first, that this was some sort of a joke! Like you, didn't recognize the woman in the portrait as Michelle! I think BO's grim look is because he knows our, now, great president is undoing all of his shoddy policies. To both of the Obamas, I say Bye Bye!!!

  • Karen A Armstrong

    02/14/2018 09:27 AM

    I, like you, see no likeness, not the face at all, its a beautiful canvas, but looks nothing like Michelle O. I guess I just don't get it. Maybe Barak asked for his portrait to be painted like that, who knows except he and the artist, at least it looks like him. Unlike Michelle's portrait.

  • Gloria Patton

    02/14/2018 09:26 AM

    Has anyone considered the possibility that perhaps "hidden messages" are in parts or all of their portraits? The portrait of Queen Elizabeth I came to mind as soon as I saw them. [just a thought]

  • Debbie Morgan

    02/14/2018 09:24 AM

    I think they are laughably odd. Obama has been put out to pasture, so to speak, but where are the cows and sheep? Michelle's doesn't look much like her. But why was she painted in something that looks like an old shower curtain or blanket? It would be a shame if they were actually hung with the other Presidential portraits looking like cartoon characters while our other Presidents are so dignified.

  • Jeanne C Orrison

    02/14/2018 09:21 AM

    Because I am a WASP, I imagine I cannot fully appreciate the artwork. It doesn't take a genius to know that Black Americans have cultural perspectives they bring to their lives, just like any other people with a native culture. For me, the important thing is: Do the Obama's like them? If so, then let it be what it is. As for the portraits not being Presidential, what does that mean exactly? We have a President now who is "breaking the mold" in many ways, so if the portraits "break the mold," maybe that's good. We should respect their views and choices. And, thanks, Gov. Huckabee for bringing us news in such an enlightening and interesting format. I rarely miss reading your reports.

  • Bernice Wittwer

    02/14/2018 09:20 AM

    Frankly I think his portrait is hideous. It looks like what I would expect to see in a cartoon of him....actually I’ve seen cartoons that were a better likeness of him. I guess he really wanted to stand out in the Hall of Presidents. He succeeded but did I don’t understand why he would want to be a cartoon character lol. As far as Michelle goes, I guess the artist employed “artistic license” when it came to her massive jawline. Smh

  • Diane Vanderson

    02/14/2018 09:20 AM

    Here in Chicago, many people view theObama portrait as his sitting atwrigley Field (ivy) even though he claims to be a Sox fan, even though talking about Kaminsky PArk. I agree with you about Michelle's picture. Doesn't even look like her. I think she looks better in person than the portrait.

  • Daniel Suarez

    02/14/2018 09:19 AM

    Did they have to pick a black artist?They should have used someone with real talent...

  • Daniel Suarez

    02/14/2018 09:16 AM

    That is Michelle as I am the banana in Warhol’s painting...

  • Diane Garde

    02/14/2018 09:06 AM

    I am not an artist nor do I presume to understand what thoughts were caught up in these paintings but as a
    bystander I would say they are not what I would think an official portrait should look like, seems to me it is all about look at me I am the best. Not a fan.

  • Jeannette Houston

    02/14/2018 08:58 AM

    I am a quilter and on several quilting blogs and groups there was a mention of the dress on Michelle Obama being a tribute to the quilters of Gee's Bend. That is great, but if other quilters, such as those who quilted on the great prairie and other towns during our nation's history said anything about being omitted they would be called racist.

  • Frank Stewart

    02/14/2018 08:52 AM

    OK, so I admit that I am not an Obama fan to begin with, but I still hold the office of President of the US in respect. Thus these two portraits are confusing to me. Maybe I'm just not an elite intellect to appreciate them. The President sitting in a chair out in some ivy (maybe symbolic for "Ivy League") is simply ridiculous. The "message" is totally confusing and in my opinion derogatory to the Office. It's a little like the story of the King with no clothes...everyone oohs and ahas until the little kid says "look the king has no clothes on" and everyone then laughs. Michelle's portrait likewise has me totally baffled. It bears no resemblance to her. I mean...what the heck? Maybe both artists should have just painted their subjects facing away from us...it would have been equally as effective and the underlying "message" would have been easier to understand. Wonder how much they cost and who paid for them? What a waste of time, talent and money...not to mention dignity.

  • Michael Egbert

    02/14/2018 08:48 AM

    obama's picture looked like him...but michelle's? doesn't look anything like her

  • Wayne Peugh

    02/14/2018 08:47 AM

    We live in America - Lots of chapters and pages in the book, the Obama's are in a different chapter than I am.

  • Marjorie Hopkins

    02/14/2018 08:46 AM

    I actually laughed when I saw the President's portrait. I think it is wonderful that an African American was chosen for both portraits but I am stupefied at the selection of background and the seating of the President in his painting--His position is/was the highest position a person can attain in this country and this relegates him to a type of wood nymph. At first I thought he was sitting among marijuana plants!--Which, I guess might be as appropriate as the Hawaiian flora chosen. I just hate it that it will be laughable among all the stately, regal past President portraits. But I suppose it is a great mirror image of his Presidency--at least to me. This is how I will remember him, I'm afraid. The first lady's portrait is just O.K. It certainly doesn't reflect the position she held. It looks more like a picture out of a popular ladies' magazine. And in that situation, it is "nice".

  • Kevin Johnson

    02/14/2018 08:40 AM

    Mr. Obamas portrait looks like a black Nixon to me. Mrs. Obamas doesn't look anything like her. Just my opinion. God bless you Mr. Huckabee

What do you think of the official portraits of former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama that have just been unveiled? If you haven’t seen them yet, take a little time to check them out and think about them, and then we’ll talk.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/12/politics/obama-portrait-unveiling/index.html

The Obamas interviewed more than two dozen artists for the distinction of painting their portraits. (Michelle says this is the first portrait she’s ever sat for.) The paintings will be displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, but not side by side; the former President’s portrait will hang, appropriately, in the hall of presidents, while Michelle’s will hang in another gallery. Both paintings are stunningly different from typical “power portraits,” and, considering that President Obama’s portrait will be viewed in the context of those of other Presidents, that incongruence will be much more obvious in his case than in hers.


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Considering that President Obama’s artist, Kehinde Wiley, is an African-American noted for making a statement about power by painting his black subjects in the high-blown style of the Old Masters, this painting seems, well, a little strange. Here, the artist has taken the opposite tack. It’s ironic that in a situation in which a black person in real life has reached the absolute highest level of power attainable by anyone of any race, this artist conveys not a hint of it. Obama is sitting on a “throne” of sorts (a low, carved chair), alone against a blanket of brilliant green ivy –- the purpose of which is “charting his path on Earth,” according to the artist –- that completely fills the canvas, behind him and under his feet. The ivy is studded here and there with pops of colorful and symbolic flowers. It certainly incorporates the President’s Hawaiian roots; he could be wearing a crown of plumeria blossoms in this picture and it wouldn’t seem out of place with his business-casual clothes. Maybe it’s casual Friday, and the office is having a tiki party.

As for the pose and grim expression, I’ll leave it to Internet trolls to create the memes we all know are coming. I feel like staying above that today. (Well, not really, but I’m going to restrain myself.)

Why does the President look so grim? I’d like to think it’s because of Neil Gorsuch being on the Supreme Court or his certainty that the scale of Hillary’s lawbreaking and the Justice Department’s protection of her –-- and, by extension, him –- will eventually see the light of day. When it does, that daylight will be just as bright as the sun that shines on his visage in this beautifully-executed but odd portrait of him.


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……………………

Now, a word about Michelle’s portrait. This is a striking work of art, created by Amy Sherald of Baltimore. Like Wiley, she’s an African artist dedicated to highlighting themes of social justice; that’s one reason she typically de-emphasizes skin tones by painting them in gray, as she has done here. The look is flat and mural-like. Against a background of sky blue, Michelle poses thoughtfully in a dramatic white full-skirted dress enhanced with graphic designs. Not formal-looking, but sophisticated.

One tiny quibble, and maybe it’s just me: Objectively, I suppose it’s a good facial likeness, but if I saw the painting and hadn’t been told it was her, I might not immediately realize that. I might just pass by as one sometimes does with an acquaintance on the street, if that acquaintance looks like a lot of other people. Maybe seeing her portrait up-close-and-in-person, the face would appear less generic. We should all get to the Smithsonian Picture Gallery and have a look at this and other history-making works.

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Comments 51-100 of 111

  • Margaret Kost

    02/14/2018 12:20 PM

    Governor Huckabee, The portrait of Mrs. Obama would to me be unrecognizable unless I knew or read that it was her. Mr. Obama's picture in my interpretation is cartoonish. The background is overwhelming and his love of not sitting still for a picture let alone a portrait shows in the scowl on his face. Not a presidential picture to be hung for observation by future generations. Kehinde Wiley who painted Mr. Obama's picture, stated that he was proud to paint the the first African American president, however, I am sure that Mr. Obama is the first half black and white president of the United States and Mrs. Obama is truly the first African American first lady. Shouldn't we all be American's together and not African/German/Irish/Polish/Italian/Jewish, etc. American's? Why must it be African/American and everyone else are just white American's, which for voting purposes is turning into Illegal Immigrants having the full rights of U.S. citizens under our Constitution? When Russian women pay to come to America, expressly to give birth on U.S. soil just for the newborn to have U.S. birth certificate of citizenship? I digress! Thank you, Governor for your daily articles. I am looking forward to seeing the upcoming show on Israel.

  • grace barbera-bryson

    02/14/2018 12:18 PM

    Looks like what I'd expect. Always trying to be HOLLYWIERD cool. Obama looks like he is at a flower child who is happy smoking his spleef-man. And Michelle is still wearing the same designer tablecloth gowns.

  • Oma Tekoa

    02/14/2018 12:10 PM

    Gov Huckabee, please forgive me but as a person of African decent Obama’s portrait looks like a funeral portrait commonly used in Africa during the burial ceremony of notable family members. As for Michelle, it is not bad, it’s typically her but my personal opinion is that it looks like the portrait of a recovering alcoholic shying away from a glass of liquor. No disrespect intended to persons struggling with alcohol problems, we stand with them in their struggles.

  • Linda Mahan

    02/14/2018 11:57 AM

    I personally thought they were hideous. Hers doesn't even look like her and looks more like an attempt from a "C" student in art class. His looks like something you would see on a St. Patrick's Day card. Needs pointed boots, green hat & a lot of gold!! Ridiculous portraits!!!

  • Nan Wysock

    02/14/2018 11:48 AM

    I am appalled by the fact the his "artist" has painted pictures of black people holding the heads of white people. What an awful statement that makes to the world. I think her painting looks absurd. I should think she would want to be recognizable, and proud to have her beautiful brown skin show in any pictures or paintings of herself. I think these portraits are going to look very much out of place in the same galleries as the other Presidents and First Ladies.

  • Joyce Nease

    02/14/2018 11:42 AM

    I'm sorry, but when I look at the President's portrait it looks like he's sitting in a fairy garden, perhaps asking the fairies for advice. Not dealing with reality. And Michelle's portrait only 'resembles' Michelle.

  • Anne Turner

    02/14/2018 11:27 AM

    Even though I disagree with Michele Obama politically, and do not care for many of her comments, I fully acknowledge that she is an attractive woman in her own right. There was no need to glamorize her, and to not paint a portrait that really looks like her. I cannot imagine what the artist had in mind. She is a mature woman and this painting makes her look like an ad for a cosmetic company, not a dignified, professional woman, wife, and mother. This is typical of how woman must be portrayed as “glamorous” regardless of anything else in their life. As to th artist’s use of gray, what is wrong with portraying a dark skinned black woman of African heritage?

  • Caarole Teater

    02/14/2018 11:27 AM

    She has no class and they hate America and their portrait looks pathetic. nough said

  • Dr. James Burnett

    02/14/2018 11:09 AM

    1. Obama will not get off his ego trips.
    2. Mrs. Obama's picture does not reflect her nature, so it is a cartoon.

  • James Odle

    02/14/2018 10:56 AM

    Obama's portrait looks like a cartoon. I agree with you and many others that Michelle's portrait does not even look like her. Obama's portrait will certainly stand out when viewed adjacent to all the other Presidents.

  • James Odle

    02/14/2018 10:56 AM

    Obama's portrait looks like a cartoon. I agree with you and many others that Michelle's portrait does not even look like her. Obama's portrait will certainly stand out when viewed adjacent to all the other Presidents.

  • Colleen Johnson

    02/14/2018 10:49 AM

    Barack Obama's portrait makes him look like a flower child who is sitting on a toilet. Very fitting for this organized crime president. He is a disgrace to our country.

  • Christine Baldauf

    02/14/2018 10:42 AM

    Personally, I find that portrait of Obama an abstract, since the background distracts so much from the subject. Just like Obama was a sort of nightmare caricature of an American president.... And Michelle's portrait? Such a big & loud a dress take your mind off wwhat was such an unremarkable First Lady.

  • Linda Black

    02/14/2018 10:38 AM

    The portrait may redirect the controversy about where he was born. Was it in a cabbage patch or an ivy patch?

  • Eileen Rigby

    02/14/2018 10:26 AM

    As I heard, Amy Sherold also paints portraits of black people holding severed heads of white people. If this is true, why would The Obama’s pick her to do the portrait? I leave the answer up to you.

  • Donna M. Sims

    02/14/2018 10:26 AM

    I sent this to the National Gallery/Smithsonian yesterday. I mean no disrespect, but this is how I and three of my friends reacted to BO's portrait, independent of each other. What a sad, sad for posterity to view the office:

    Several friends and I - independent of each other- are APPALLED by the portrait of Barack Obama. I am not a BO supporter. However, this portrait is disgraceful. In my wildest dreams, I never would have wished this portrait on my worst enemy! My initial thought was "The painting looks as if he is seated on a toilet." Without saying anything to my acquaintances, their responses were "Looks as if he is being potty trained" or "Looks like he is sitting on an old-fashioned potty-training chair." The dignity of the office of the President was NOT captured in this portrait. It is an embarrassment to the people of this country. (I have viewed some of Mr. Wiley's other works; I realize he has a unique style. However, the dignity he should have captured has been lost in this work).

  • Dr. William D Averett

    02/14/2018 10:24 AM

    Barrack Obama is a subversive to the American way of life. He may not be representing a foreign government but is serving an ideology foreign to America.

  • Shirley Krause

    02/14/2018 10:19 AM

    In my opinion, neither portrait should be a part of the portrait gallery at the Smithsonian! Why on earth did the artist use all the ivy? It will stick out like a sore thumb, but maybe that is what Obama wanted. Unlike any of the other formal portraits of the Presidents, this is hideous! Michelle's portrait on the other hand, unless someone told me, I would never have guessed it was her. I don't like either one and would suggest they have a new portrait painted!

  • Donna Carl

    02/14/2018 10:16 AM

    Are you kidding me? Disgraceful for the office. During her speech before the unveiling all she talked about was race & you wonder why this country is the way it is. The two of them have divided this country more than ever before. Sad.

  • Harry Eich

    02/14/2018 10:06 AM

    The Obama's portraits are indeed odd. I'm not sure what the flowers are in Barrack's portrait, but if you squint your eyes just a little they could be pansies, which are quite appropriate for this "president". Michelle's portrait is also strange. I'm thinking she may have just returned from a quilting bee (quilting bees good!) as her dress seems to be made from a blanket. It is an odd dress to choose, but her taste was always strange. I can only wonder if she was responsible for Barrack's picture as well...

  • Diana Beason

    02/14/2018 10:00 AM

    I'm sure the portraits will provide discussion for tourists for many years to come. If the idea of a portrait is to provide more information than a photograph could, these succeed.

  • Sandy Slinkard

    02/14/2018 09:58 AM

    What a disaster and disappointment..he is showing his “smugness” against the United States and “Michael” still looks like Michael. You can put a dress on a mile but it is still a mule. There is NOTHING Presidential (for first man) with these two corrupt and deranged individuals. Love your columns and look forward to reading and sharing... please keep up the AWESOME work.

  • Sandy Fields

    02/14/2018 09:58 AM

    I'll take my mother's advice here, 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.'

  • Tom Glatting

    02/14/2018 09:50 AM

    Ivy my foot ---- pansies!!!!!!

  • Lee Henry

    02/14/2018 09:42 AM

    not good looking at all something more to forget about than to remember & that goes for them to ..obama should be in jial now & he really needs to be in jail if he did have a surveillance in 2016 ..why has trump not do anything about that ??? & all the other doings of obama ?? what happen to the law we not fallowing it anymore !!!!!???????!!!!!!????? if regular people did that we would be in jail !!!!

  • Ti Michelle Connelly

    02/14/2018 09:40 AM

    Does POTUS Obama have 6 finger on his hand? The portrait id not even Presidential looking like his 2 terms. As for Mrs. Obama it's hideous.

  • Sylvia Williamson

    02/14/2018 09:35 AM

    If I had not known by seeing it in print, I would have thought this picture looked like a "Blooming Idiot!" Not at all impressed with either and they certainly do not resemble Presidential material nor were they really qualified for that role!!!

  • Wanda Rogacki

    02/14/2018 09:34 AM

    I had to laugh out loud when I saw the Obamas portraits. My instinct w/Obama was to label it "Where's Waldo?" The ivy actually looked more like marijuana, and I am sure that was an unconscious fault of the artist. Michelle's reminded me of a second grader's attempt to do a paint by numbers w/crayons...and as you said,"Who in the heck is in the picture, maybe Omarosa? Not Michelle." Not impressive either one. Acually, Obama's would make a great 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. (:

  • Ivy Kovach

    02/14/2018 09:34 AM

    This looks like another attempt by the Obamas to insure that they are not forgotten. As long as they are stirring up controversy, we will keep talking about them. They will most certainly be the topic of conversation as they stand out among the rest in the gallery.

  • David Peterson

    02/14/2018 09:33 AM

    They should hang (for treason) not ina gallery Obama looks as if he sitting in a pot patch and Michelle is trying to mimic Jackie O.a feet she would never have the class to pull off

  • Linda Marie Stanford

    02/14/2018 09:32 AM

    My first impression: Barry as the "green" president, in the full sense of the term--money, energy, and untested. His wife's portrait--who is that? Maybe the artist was able to see Michelle as a better version of herself, without the "expressive" eyebrows.

  • Kathleen Tripp

    02/14/2018 09:30 AM

    These pictures are not great. I think all "Presidential" pics. should actually be presidential. They are the worst "Presidential" pics. I have ever seen and Michelle's doesn't even look like her. If I didn't know it was her I would not know. They should be in the same type of setting they have always been in.... From what I have heard the female artist could be a nut also... LOL

  • Jim Gerrish

    02/14/2018 09:30 AM

    You get what you pay for. Snicker.

  • Kay Manwaring

    02/14/2018 09:30 AM

    Pres. Obama seems to be shown in the middled of his "wonderland" that is not real and Mrs. Obama looks bored. A look that goes well with the disdain of the USA she so often expressed. What I hope to see is what each looks like hanging among the other presidents and first ladies in the museum.

  • Judy Clemence

    02/14/2018 09:27 AM

    I thought, at first, that this was some sort of a joke! Like you, didn't recognize the woman in the portrait as Michelle! I think BO's grim look is because he knows our, now, great president is undoing all of his shoddy policies. To both of the Obamas, I say Bye Bye!!!

  • Karen A Armstrong

    02/14/2018 09:27 AM

    I, like you, see no likeness, not the face at all, its a beautiful canvas, but looks nothing like Michelle O. I guess I just don't get it. Maybe Barak asked for his portrait to be painted like that, who knows except he and the artist, at least it looks like him. Unlike Michelle's portrait.

  • Gloria Patton

    02/14/2018 09:26 AM

    Has anyone considered the possibility that perhaps "hidden messages" are in parts or all of their portraits? The portrait of Queen Elizabeth I came to mind as soon as I saw them. [just a thought]

  • Debbie Morgan

    02/14/2018 09:24 AM

    I think they are laughably odd. Obama has been put out to pasture, so to speak, but where are the cows and sheep? Michelle's doesn't look much like her. But why was she painted in something that looks like an old shower curtain or blanket? It would be a shame if they were actually hung with the other Presidential portraits looking like cartoon characters while our other Presidents are so dignified.

  • Jeanne C Orrison

    02/14/2018 09:21 AM

    Because I am a WASP, I imagine I cannot fully appreciate the artwork. It doesn't take a genius to know that Black Americans have cultural perspectives they bring to their lives, just like any other people with a native culture. For me, the important thing is: Do the Obama's like them? If so, then let it be what it is. As for the portraits not being Presidential, what does that mean exactly? We have a President now who is "breaking the mold" in many ways, so if the portraits "break the mold," maybe that's good. We should respect their views and choices. And, thanks, Gov. Huckabee for bringing us news in such an enlightening and interesting format. I rarely miss reading your reports.

  • Bernice Wittwer

    02/14/2018 09:20 AM

    Frankly I think his portrait is hideous. It looks like what I would expect to see in a cartoon of him....actually I’ve seen cartoons that were a better likeness of him. I guess he really wanted to stand out in the Hall of Presidents. He succeeded but did I don’t understand why he would want to be a cartoon character lol. As far as Michelle goes, I guess the artist employed “artistic license” when it came to her massive jawline. Smh

  • Diane Vanderson

    02/14/2018 09:20 AM

    Here in Chicago, many people view theObama portrait as his sitting atwrigley Field (ivy) even though he claims to be a Sox fan, even though talking about Kaminsky PArk. I agree with you about Michelle's picture. Doesn't even look like her. I think she looks better in person than the portrait.

  • Daniel Suarez

    02/14/2018 09:19 AM

    Did they have to pick a black artist?They should have used someone with real talent...

  • Daniel Suarez

    02/14/2018 09:16 AM

    That is Michelle as I am the banana in Warhol’s painting...

  • Diane Garde

    02/14/2018 09:06 AM

    I am not an artist nor do I presume to understand what thoughts were caught up in these paintings but as a
    bystander I would say they are not what I would think an official portrait should look like, seems to me it is all about look at me I am the best. Not a fan.

  • Jeannette Houston

    02/14/2018 08:58 AM

    I am a quilter and on several quilting blogs and groups there was a mention of the dress on Michelle Obama being a tribute to the quilters of Gee's Bend. That is great, but if other quilters, such as those who quilted on the great prairie and other towns during our nation's history said anything about being omitted they would be called racist.

  • Frank Stewart

    02/14/2018 08:52 AM

    OK, so I admit that I am not an Obama fan to begin with, but I still hold the office of President of the US in respect. Thus these two portraits are confusing to me. Maybe I'm just not an elite intellect to appreciate them. The President sitting in a chair out in some ivy (maybe symbolic for "Ivy League") is simply ridiculous. The "message" is totally confusing and in my opinion derogatory to the Office. It's a little like the story of the King with no clothes...everyone oohs and ahas until the little kid says "look the king has no clothes on" and everyone then laughs. Michelle's portrait likewise has me totally baffled. It bears no resemblance to her. I mean...what the heck? Maybe both artists should have just painted their subjects facing away from us...it would have been equally as effective and the underlying "message" would have been easier to understand. Wonder how much they cost and who paid for them? What a waste of time, talent and money...not to mention dignity.

  • Michael Egbert

    02/14/2018 08:48 AM

    obama's picture looked like him...but michelle's? doesn't look anything like her

  • Wayne Peugh

    02/14/2018 08:47 AM

    We live in America - Lots of chapters and pages in the book, the Obama's are in a different chapter than I am.

  • Marjorie Hopkins

    02/14/2018 08:46 AM

    I actually laughed when I saw the President's portrait. I think it is wonderful that an African American was chosen for both portraits but I am stupefied at the selection of background and the seating of the President in his painting--His position is/was the highest position a person can attain in this country and this relegates him to a type of wood nymph. At first I thought he was sitting among marijuana plants!--Which, I guess might be as appropriate as the Hawaiian flora chosen. I just hate it that it will be laughable among all the stately, regal past President portraits. But I suppose it is a great mirror image of his Presidency--at least to me. This is how I will remember him, I'm afraid. The first lady's portrait is just O.K. It certainly doesn't reflect the position she held. It looks more like a picture out of a popular ladies' magazine. And in that situation, it is "nice".

  • Kevin Johnson

    02/14/2018 08:40 AM

    Mr. Obamas portrait looks like a black Nixon to me. Mrs. Obamas doesn't look anything like her. Just my opinion. God bless you Mr. Huckabee

What do you think of the official portraits of former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama that have just been unveiled? If you haven’t seen them yet, take a little time to check them out and think about them, and then we’ll talk.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/12/politics/obama-portrait-unveiling/index.html

The Obamas interviewed more than two dozen artists for the distinction of painting their portraits. (Michelle says this is the first portrait she’s ever sat for.) The paintings will be displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, but not side by side; the former President’s portrait will hang, appropriately, in the hall of presidents, while Michelle’s will hang in another gallery. Both paintings are stunningly different from typical “power portraits,” and, considering that President Obama’s portrait will be viewed in the context of those of other Presidents, that incongruence will be much more obvious in his case than in hers.


Commentary continues below advertisement


Considering that President Obama’s artist, Kehinde Wiley, is an African-American noted for making a statement about power by painting his black subjects in the high-blown style of the Old Masters, this painting seems, well, a little strange. Here, the artist has taken the opposite tack. It’s ironic that in a situation in which a black person in real life has reached the absolute highest level of power attainable by anyone of any race, this artist conveys not a hint of it. Obama is sitting on a “throne” of sorts (a low, carved chair), alone against a blanket of brilliant green ivy –- the purpose of which is “charting his path on Earth,” according to the artist –- that completely fills the canvas, behind him and under his feet. The ivy is studded here and there with pops of colorful and symbolic flowers. It certainly incorporates the President’s Hawaiian roots; he could be wearing a crown of plumeria blossoms in this picture and it wouldn’t seem out of place with his business-casual clothes. Maybe it’s casual Friday, and the office is having a tiki party.

As for the pose and grim expression, I’ll leave it to Internet trolls to create the memes we all know are coming. I feel like staying above that today. (Well, not really, but I’m going to restrain myself.)

Why does the President look so grim? I’d like to think it’s because of Neil Gorsuch being on the Supreme Court or his certainty that the scale of Hillary’s lawbreaking and the Justice Department’s protection of her –-- and, by extension, him –- will eventually see the light of day. When it does, that daylight will be just as bright as the sun that shines on his visage in this beautifully-executed but odd portrait of him.


Commentary continues below advertisement


……………………

Now, a word about Michelle’s portrait. This is a striking work of art, created by Amy Sherald of Baltimore. Like Wiley, she’s an African artist dedicated to highlighting themes of social justice; that’s one reason she typically de-emphasizes skin tones by painting them in gray, as she has done here. The look is flat and mural-like. Against a background of sky blue, Michelle poses thoughtfully in a dramatic white full-skirted dress enhanced with graphic designs. Not formal-looking, but sophisticated.

One tiny quibble, and maybe it’s just me: Objectively, I suppose it’s a good facial likeness, but if I saw the painting and hadn’t been told it was her, I might not immediately realize that. I might just pass by as one sometimes does with an acquaintance on the street, if that acquaintance looks like a lot of other people. Maybe seeing her portrait up-close-and-in-person, the face would appear less generic. We should all get to the Smithsonian Picture Gallery and have a look at this and other history-making works.

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Comments 51-100 of 111

  • Margaret Kost

    02/14/2018 12:20 PM

    Governor Huckabee, The portrait of Mrs. Obama would to me be unrecognizable unless I knew or read that it was her. Mr. Obama's picture in my interpretation is cartoonish. The background is overwhelming and his love of not sitting still for a picture let alone a portrait shows in the scowl on his face. Not a presidential picture to be hung for observation by future generations. Kehinde Wiley who painted Mr. Obama's picture, stated that he was proud to paint the the first African American president, however, I am sure that Mr. Obama is the first half black and white president of the United States and Mrs. Obama is truly the first African American first lady. Shouldn't we all be American's together and not African/German/Irish/Polish/Italian/Jewish, etc. American's? Why must it be African/American and everyone else are just white American's, which for voting purposes is turning into Illegal Immigrants having the full rights of U.S. citizens under our Constitution? When Russian women pay to come to America, expressly to give birth on U.S. soil just for the newborn to have U.S. birth certificate of citizenship? I digress! Thank you, Governor for your daily articles. I am looking forward to seeing the upcoming show on Israel.

  • grace barbera-bryson

    02/14/2018 12:18 PM

    Looks like what I'd expect. Always trying to be HOLLYWIERD cool. Obama looks like he is at a flower child who is happy smoking his spleef-man. And Michelle is still wearing the same designer tablecloth gowns.

  • Oma Tekoa

    02/14/2018 12:10 PM

    Gov Huckabee, please forgive me but as a person of African decent Obama’s portrait looks like a funeral portrait commonly used in Africa during the burial ceremony of notable family members. As for Michelle, it is not bad, it’s typically her but my personal opinion is that it looks like the portrait of a recovering alcoholic shying away from a glass of liquor. No disrespect intended to persons struggling with alcohol problems, we stand with them in their struggles.

  • Linda Mahan

    02/14/2018 11:57 AM

    I personally thought they were hideous. Hers doesn't even look like her and looks more like an attempt from a "C" student in art class. His looks like something you would see on a St. Patrick's Day card. Needs pointed boots, green hat & a lot of gold!! Ridiculous portraits!!!

  • Nan Wysock

    02/14/2018 11:48 AM

    I am appalled by the fact the his "artist" has painted pictures of black people holding the heads of white people. What an awful statement that makes to the world. I think her painting looks absurd. I should think she would want to be recognizable, and proud to have her beautiful brown skin show in any pictures or paintings of herself. I think these portraits are going to look very much out of place in the same galleries as the other Presidents and First Ladies.

  • Joyce Nease

    02/14/2018 11:42 AM

    I'm sorry, but when I look at the President's portrait it looks like he's sitting in a fairy garden, perhaps asking the fairies for advice. Not dealing with reality. And Michelle's portrait only 'resembles' Michelle.

  • Anne Turner

    02/14/2018 11:27 AM

    Even though I disagree with Michele Obama politically, and do not care for many of her comments, I fully acknowledge that she is an attractive woman in her own right. There was no need to glamorize her, and to not paint a portrait that really looks like her. I cannot imagine what the artist had in mind. She is a mature woman and this painting makes her look like an ad for a cosmetic company, not a dignified, professional woman, wife, and mother. This is typical of how woman must be portrayed as “glamorous” regardless of anything else in their life. As to th artist’s use of gray, what is wrong with portraying a dark skinned black woman of African heritage?

  • Caarole Teater

    02/14/2018 11:27 AM

    She has no class and they hate America and their portrait looks pathetic. nough said

  • Dr. James Burnett

    02/14/2018 11:09 AM

    1. Obama will not get off his ego trips.
    2. Mrs. Obama's picture does not reflect her nature, so it is a cartoon.

  • James Odle

    02/14/2018 10:56 AM

    Obama's portrait looks like a cartoon. I agree with you and many others that Michelle's portrait does not even look like her. Obama's portrait will certainly stand out when viewed adjacent to all the other Presidents.

  • James Odle

    02/14/2018 10:56 AM

    Obama's portrait looks like a cartoon. I agree with you and many others that Michelle's portrait does not even look like her. Obama's portrait will certainly stand out when viewed adjacent to all the other Presidents.

  • Colleen Johnson

    02/14/2018 10:49 AM

    Barack Obama's portrait makes him look like a flower child who is sitting on a toilet. Very fitting for this organized crime president. He is a disgrace to our country.

  • Christine Baldauf

    02/14/2018 10:42 AM

    Personally, I find that portrait of Obama an abstract, since the background distracts so much from the subject. Just like Obama was a sort of nightmare caricature of an American president.... And Michelle's portrait? Such a big & loud a dress take your mind off wwhat was such an unremarkable First Lady.

  • Linda Black

    02/14/2018 10:38 AM

    The portrait may redirect the controversy about where he was born. Was it in a cabbage patch or an ivy patch?

  • Eileen Rigby

    02/14/2018 10:26 AM

    As I heard, Amy Sherold also paints portraits of black people holding severed heads of white people. If this is true, why would The Obama’s pick her to do the portrait? I leave the answer up to you.

  • Donna M. Sims

    02/14/2018 10:26 AM

    I sent this to the National Gallery/Smithsonian yesterday. I mean no disrespect, but this is how I and three of my friends reacted to BO's portrait, independent of each other. What a sad, sad for posterity to view the office:

    Several friends and I - independent of each other- are APPALLED by the portrait of Barack Obama. I am not a BO supporter. However, this portrait is disgraceful. In my wildest dreams, I never would have wished this portrait on my worst enemy! My initial thought was "The painting looks as if he is seated on a toilet." Without saying anything to my acquaintances, their responses were "Looks as if he is being potty trained" or "Looks like he is sitting on an old-fashioned potty-training chair." The dignity of the office of the President was NOT captured in this portrait. It is an embarrassment to the people of this country. (I have viewed some of Mr. Wiley's other works; I realize he has a unique style. However, the dignity he should have captured has been lost in this work).

  • Dr. William D Averett

    02/14/2018 10:24 AM

    Barrack Obama is a subversive to the American way of life. He may not be representing a foreign government but is serving an ideology foreign to America.

  • Shirley Krause

    02/14/2018 10:19 AM

    In my opinion, neither portrait should be a part of the portrait gallery at the Smithsonian! Why on earth did the artist use all the ivy? It will stick out like a sore thumb, but maybe that is what Obama wanted. Unlike any of the other formal portraits of the Presidents, this is hideous! Michelle's portrait on the other hand, unless someone told me, I would never have guessed it was her. I don't like either one and would suggest they have a new portrait painted!

  • Donna Carl

    02/14/2018 10:16 AM

    Are you kidding me? Disgraceful for the office. During her speech before the unveiling all she talked about was race & you wonder why this country is the way it is. The two of them have divided this country more than ever before. Sad.

  • Harry Eich

    02/14/2018 10:06 AM

    The Obama's portraits are indeed odd. I'm not sure what the flowers are in Barrack's portrait, but if you squint your eyes just a little they could be pansies, which are quite appropriate for this "president". Michelle's portrait is also strange. I'm thinking she may have just returned from a quilting bee (quilting bees good!) as her dress seems to be made from a blanket. It is an odd dress to choose, but her taste was always strange. I can only wonder if she was responsible for Barrack's picture as well...

  • Diana Beason

    02/14/2018 10:00 AM

    I'm sure the portraits will provide discussion for tourists for many years to come. If the idea of a portrait is to provide more information than a photograph could, these succeed.

  • Sandy Slinkard

    02/14/2018 09:58 AM

    What a disaster and disappointment..he is showing his “smugness” against the United States and “Michael” still looks like Michael. You can put a dress on a mile but it is still a mule. There is NOTHING Presidential (for first man) with these two corrupt and deranged individuals. Love your columns and look forward to reading and sharing... please keep up the AWESOME work.

  • Sandy Fields

    02/14/2018 09:58 AM

    I'll take my mother's advice here, 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.'

  • Tom Glatting

    02/14/2018 09:50 AM

    Ivy my foot ---- pansies!!!!!!

  • Lee Henry

    02/14/2018 09:42 AM

    not good looking at all something more to forget about than to remember & that goes for them to ..obama should be in jial now & he really needs to be in jail if he did have a surveillance in 2016 ..why has trump not do anything about that ??? & all the other doings of obama ?? what happen to the law we not fallowing it anymore !!!!!???????!!!!!!????? if regular people did that we would be in jail !!!!

  • Ti Michelle Connelly

    02/14/2018 09:40 AM

    Does POTUS Obama have 6 finger on his hand? The portrait id not even Presidential looking like his 2 terms. As for Mrs. Obama it's hideous.

  • Sylvia Williamson

    02/14/2018 09:35 AM

    If I had not known by seeing it in print, I would have thought this picture looked like a "Blooming Idiot!" Not at all impressed with either and they certainly do not resemble Presidential material nor were they really qualified for that role!!!

  • Wanda Rogacki

    02/14/2018 09:34 AM

    I had to laugh out loud when I saw the Obamas portraits. My instinct w/Obama was to label it "Where's Waldo?" The ivy actually looked more like marijuana, and I am sure that was an unconscious fault of the artist. Michelle's reminded me of a second grader's attempt to do a paint by numbers w/crayons...and as you said,"Who in the heck is in the picture, maybe Omarosa? Not Michelle." Not impressive either one. Acually, Obama's would make a great 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. (:

  • Ivy Kovach

    02/14/2018 09:34 AM

    This looks like another attempt by the Obamas to insure that they are not forgotten. As long as they are stirring up controversy, we will keep talking about them. They will most certainly be the topic of conversation as they stand out among the rest in the gallery.

  • David Peterson

    02/14/2018 09:33 AM

    They should hang (for treason) not ina gallery Obama looks as if he sitting in a pot patch and Michelle is trying to mimic Jackie O.a feet she would never have the class to pull off

  • Linda Marie Stanford

    02/14/2018 09:32 AM

    My first impression: Barry as the "green" president, in the full sense of the term--money, energy, and untested. His wife's portrait--who is that? Maybe the artist was able to see Michelle as a better version of herself, without the "expressive" eyebrows.

  • Kathleen Tripp

    02/14/2018 09:30 AM

    These pictures are not great. I think all "Presidential" pics. should actually be presidential. They are the worst "Presidential" pics. I have ever seen and Michelle's doesn't even look like her. If I didn't know it was her I would not know. They should be in the same type of setting they have always been in.... From what I have heard the female artist could be a nut also... LOL

  • Jim Gerrish

    02/14/2018 09:30 AM

    You get what you pay for. Snicker.

  • Kay Manwaring

    02/14/2018 09:30 AM

    Pres. Obama seems to be shown in the middled of his "wonderland" that is not real and Mrs. Obama looks bored. A look that goes well with the disdain of the USA she so often expressed. What I hope to see is what each looks like hanging among the other presidents and first ladies in the museum.

  • Judy Clemence

    02/14/2018 09:27 AM

    I thought, at first, that this was some sort of a joke! Like you, didn't recognize the woman in the portrait as Michelle! I think BO's grim look is because he knows our, now, great president is undoing all of his shoddy policies. To both of the Obamas, I say Bye Bye!!!

  • Karen A Armstrong

    02/14/2018 09:27 AM

    I, like you, see no likeness, not the face at all, its a beautiful canvas, but looks nothing like Michelle O. I guess I just don't get it. Maybe Barak asked for his portrait to be painted like that, who knows except he and the artist, at least it looks like him. Unlike Michelle's portrait.

  • Gloria Patton

    02/14/2018 09:26 AM

    Has anyone considered the possibility that perhaps "hidden messages" are in parts or all of their portraits? The portrait of Queen Elizabeth I came to mind as soon as I saw them. [just a thought]

  • Debbie Morgan

    02/14/2018 09:24 AM

    I think they are laughably odd. Obama has been put out to pasture, so to speak, but where are the cows and sheep? Michelle's doesn't look much like her. But why was she painted in something that looks like an old shower curtain or blanket? It would be a shame if they were actually hung with the other Presidential portraits looking like cartoon characters while our other Presidents are so dignified.

  • Jeanne C Orrison

    02/14/2018 09:21 AM

    Because I am a WASP, I imagine I cannot fully appreciate the artwork. It doesn't take a genius to know that Black Americans have cultural perspectives they bring to their lives, just like any other people with a native culture. For me, the important thing is: Do the Obama's like them? If so, then let it be what it is. As for the portraits not being Presidential, what does that mean exactly? We have a President now who is "breaking the mold" in many ways, so if the portraits "break the mold," maybe that's good. We should respect their views and choices. And, thanks, Gov. Huckabee for bringing us news in such an enlightening and interesting format. I rarely miss reading your reports.

  • Bernice Wittwer

    02/14/2018 09:20 AM

    Frankly I think his portrait is hideous. It looks like what I would expect to see in a cartoon of him....actually I’ve seen cartoons that were a better likeness of him. I guess he really wanted to stand out in the Hall of Presidents. He succeeded but did I don’t understand why he would want to be a cartoon character lol. As far as Michelle goes, I guess the artist employed “artistic license” when it came to her massive jawline. Smh

  • Diane Vanderson

    02/14/2018 09:20 AM

    Here in Chicago, many people view theObama portrait as his sitting atwrigley Field (ivy) even though he claims to be a Sox fan, even though talking about Kaminsky PArk. I agree with you about Michelle's picture. Doesn't even look like her. I think she looks better in person than the portrait.

  • Daniel Suarez

    02/14/2018 09:19 AM

    Did they have to pick a black artist?They should have used someone with real talent...

  • Daniel Suarez

    02/14/2018 09:16 AM

    That is Michelle as I am the banana in Warhol’s painting...

  • Diane Garde

    02/14/2018 09:06 AM

    I am not an artist nor do I presume to understand what thoughts were caught up in these paintings but as a
    bystander I would say they are not what I would think an official portrait should look like, seems to me it is all about look at me I am the best. Not a fan.

  • Jeannette Houston

    02/14/2018 08:58 AM

    I am a quilter and on several quilting blogs and groups there was a mention of the dress on Michelle Obama being a tribute to the quilters of Gee's Bend. That is great, but if other quilters, such as those who quilted on the great prairie and other towns during our nation's history said anything about being omitted they would be called racist.

  • Frank Stewart

    02/14/2018 08:52 AM

    OK, so I admit that I am not an Obama fan to begin with, but I still hold the office of President of the US in respect. Thus these two portraits are confusing to me. Maybe I'm just not an elite intellect to appreciate them. The President sitting in a chair out in some ivy (maybe symbolic for "Ivy League") is simply ridiculous. The "message" is totally confusing and in my opinion derogatory to the Office. It's a little like the story of the King with no clothes...everyone oohs and ahas until the little kid says "look the king has no clothes on" and everyone then laughs. Michelle's portrait likewise has me totally baffled. It bears no resemblance to her. I mean...what the heck? Maybe both artists should have just painted their subjects facing away from us...it would have been equally as effective and the underlying "message" would have been easier to understand. Wonder how much they cost and who paid for them? What a waste of time, talent and money...not to mention dignity.

  • Michael Egbert

    02/14/2018 08:48 AM

    obama's picture looked like him...but michelle's? doesn't look anything like her

  • Wayne Peugh

    02/14/2018 08:47 AM

    We live in America - Lots of chapters and pages in the book, the Obama's are in a different chapter than I am.

  • Marjorie Hopkins

    02/14/2018 08:46 AM

    I actually laughed when I saw the President's portrait. I think it is wonderful that an African American was chosen for both portraits but I am stupefied at the selection of background and the seating of the President in his painting--His position is/was the highest position a person can attain in this country and this relegates him to a type of wood nymph. At first I thought he was sitting among marijuana plants!--Which, I guess might be as appropriate as the Hawaiian flora chosen. I just hate it that it will be laughable among all the stately, regal past President portraits. But I suppose it is a great mirror image of his Presidency--at least to me. This is how I will remember him, I'm afraid. The first lady's portrait is just O.K. It certainly doesn't reflect the position she held. It looks more like a picture out of a popular ladies' magazine. And in that situation, it is "nice".

  • Kevin Johnson

    02/14/2018 08:40 AM

    Mr. Obamas portrait looks like a black Nixon to me. Mrs. Obamas doesn't look anything like her. Just my opinion. God bless you Mr. Huckabee