And, as Obama joked at Wednesday’s opening, no brown suits.
“We are not looking for moment of the gesture,” McCurdy said. in interview recently with White House Historical Association, which acquires and funds official portraits of presidents and first ladies. “Watched for a more meditative or transcendent moment.”
Wear black suit, white shirt and light gray tie with his hands in his pockets, Obama looks out from the canvas to the viewer with mysterious expression. Nothing else breaks the composition.
“What I like about Robert work he’s drawing people exactly way they are, for better or worse. He catches every wrinkle on your face, every crease in your shirt,” Obama said during Wednesday’s ceremony. Note that he refused to hide any of my gray hair. Rejected my request to reduce the ears. He also spoke to me out of wearing light brown suit way.”
“Feels like You face-to-face forming a bond, Obama said. on. “It attracted me in partly because presidents so often get air matt. They even take on mythical status, especially after you left, and people forget everything they didn’t do like about you.”
After the first photograph was taken, with which McCurdy painted, former The president didn’t say anything in in final portrait, as conceived by the artist.
“This is part of my process, about which the nanny can not say anything how the picture looks like. they are completely outside process, he said. – He was open to it and accepting of this process, so he never saw the images we were working with.”
“I felt that this trust comes from her, that you do your thing, I do my thing, I will trust you with your thing and i think portrait photography sometimes works better like what. That she didn’t contribute much other than presenting herself,” Sprang told the Historical Association.
How she husband Michelle Obama’s portrait is drawn in distinctive style that breaks the mold of in more traditional portraits hung in White House. Wearing blue powder off- off-the-shoulder dress designed Jason Wu, she’s sitting on sofa from the Red Room of the White House, posing against terracotta background. How former President, she’s watching directly out of viewer’s frame.
“Your work phenomenal, but it was your essence, your soul, way you saw me, way we talked and shows in it is beautiful work” said Michelle Obama during the opening ceremony.
Historical paintings in another way: They are capture in first Black President and first lady.
“They look different. But I also I don’t think it needs to be explained people. I think people I think I get it,” McCurdy said.
When Obama chose artists for earlier portraits hung in the National Portrait Gallery. in Washington, they chose black artists – Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald – who at that time they were just entering the field.
Painters behind in official The White House portraits are by both famous artists. McCurdy, whose signature is hyper-photorealistic paintings. set against on white backgrounds painted Jeff Bezos, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Jane Goodall and others.
Spring has had a long career. in figurative painting, including paintings for Congress, and has a connection with past-White House Portraits: When she was younger, she developed creative relationship with Aaron Shikler, who painted iconic portraits of the White House of John F. Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy and Nancy Reagan.
“I don’t want is to watch like made in 2013 or something similar. I want is to watch like made in this time and place”Spring said. in video with White House Historical Association.
Process of the selection of artists began when the Obamas were still in White House, including interviews with people in Oval Office. Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of Studio Museum in Harlem, sat in on Spring interview with pair.
Then-President Obama and McCurdy discussed the painting process, including releasing control. of in final the work of the artist and the relationship between the viewer and the object it is aimed at for in each of his paintings.
“I think that directness really appealed to him,” McCurdy said.
When Sprang visited the Oval Office during the Obama era in White House for she started talking about the portrait with her preliminary drawings of then-first lady give couple feelings of her direction.
“He chose a couple that he liked and she chose a couple that she liked and they were very different. in mood. And I found it’s really exciting, but it gave me the feeling of both of them,” Spring said.
McCurdy begins your process, taking about 100 photos of his subject against White background. After selection just one from what to paint, the rest of Images destroyed and process 12-18 months of painting begins.
All Obama had to do, McCurdy said, was stick to his goal, not move.
“He did a great job of it,” McCurdy said. former The president was “charming” and “very real,” he said.
When Sprang arrived at the White House for meeting with Michelle Obama decided to leave her colors behind — “I don’t want leave your mark, but instead took pictures of her and chatted while Obama’s dogs barked on lawn.
“I had them move furniture from the Red Room to the Blue Room, because light it was better,” she explained. in Interview with White House Historical Association.
Sprang below Michelle Obama; her original plan to draw first lady standing up — akin official portraits of Jacqueline Kennedy and Nancy Reagan – the end up moved when she realized she was looking up on her, not at her level.
“I was going to do it standing up to give this is a certain dignity – but she does not need dignity. She has so much dignity that I decided to do it while sitting,” Sprang said.
How did McCurdy work? on his portrait of President Obama, it has become challenge save project under total wraps. he is not work with helpers, but who helped to print photos or accidentally walk in his studio swore to secrecy.
He also there were no additional sessions with in former The president. Instead of, over well of 18 months painting process, the subject became less human and more a project.
“They become after a year year and half it becomes more of an object in a way, like technical issue. I can not feel like I’m really going know them like me work with them on canvas, he said.
For Sprang, Michelle Obama’s portrait was the longest she had ever worked on. on one picture: Eight months.
“I worked on it’s day and night. And I said good in the morning to her and I said good night for her,” she said. The hardest part, according to Sprang, was not in her face or hands or any part of her body but her dress.
McCurdy challenge was in creating a moment “where there is no time,” he said.
“There is no before or after. Like this moment will be the same for a long time like a bell ringing just keeps calling. And this way of locking the viewer into the moment,” he said.