(American, b. 1973)
Oil on linen
137.5 x 109.4 x 6.4 cm (54 1/8 x 43 1/16 x 2 1/2 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2023.5
© Amy Sherald. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Amy Sherald considers photography to be the starting point for her painted portraits.
Amy Sherald’s subjects often fill canvases with a presence that is heightened by frontal stances and direct gazes. While Sherald’s subjects display contemporary qualities, the artist typically places them against flat, solid-colored backgrounds that lack markers of time or place and renders their black skin in shades of gray. She has explained this as a technique to draw viewers’ attention toward the inner life of her subjects. In 2018, Sherald’s distinctive style captured the attention of Michelle Obama. She became the first Black artist to paint the first Black first lady’s official portrait for the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
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