Princeton University Press to Publish ‘The Obama Portraits’

It has been announced that Princeton University Press (PUP) has secured the rights to publish, in association with the National Portrait Gallery, The Obama Portraits. Set to be published in February 2020, the book will give readers an inside look at the conception, design, and impact of the portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama, which were first unveiled in 2018 by their painter Kehinde Wiley.

As The Bookseller reports, the rights for the book were secured by PUP’s publisher of art and architecture, Michelle Komie, and PUP said in a statement: “The Obama Portraits will be the first examination of the inception, evolution, and impact of these remarkable paintings. The book will include a selection of powerful images, including behind-the-scenes photography by Pete Souza, the official photographer for the Obamas; and a transcript of remarks given by the Obamas and others at the historic unveiling. Essays by Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery; Portrait Gallery curators Taína Caragol and Dorothy Moss; and art historian Richard Powell will explore themes of power, empathy, democracy, pilgrimage, and race.”

Komie said of the upcoming book: “These paintings have resonated like few other artworks in history. We are enormously grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the National Portrait Gallery on a book that is so vibrant, so vital, and which carries such tremendous potential to engage readers within the arts and well beyond.”

The original paintings now hang in the National Portrait Gallery, which is home to every official portrait of every US president throughout history. Since the late twentieth century, official portraits of First-Ladies have also been hung commissioned and hung in the gallery.

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