Washington, Europe Brief News – Barack and Michelle Obama returned to the White House on Wednesday after the former president left office.
The visit came as President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden host former President Barack Obama and his wife at the White House to unveil their official portraits.
The White House has presidential portraits on display in various rooms beginning with George Washington, America’s first president, which was bought by Congress. Other earlier presidents’ portraits were added to the collection as gifts.
Since 1965, the portraits were funded by the private, nonprofit White House Historical Association, starting with Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson, and John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy.
“Recent presidents and first ladies typically select their respective artists before leaving the White House and approve the portraits before their formal presentation to the public and induction into the collection,” the association said in a statement.
“The portrait artists aim to capture each unique appearance and personality, piecing together our presidential history through these individual works of art.”
The Obamas’ official portraits have been kept tightly under wraps, and the public will only find out about the artists who painted them when the paintings are unveiled.
The tradition broke under President Donald Trump, but it’s unclear whether it was due to objections from Trump or Obama, or external circumstances, including the COVID-19 pandemic.