Amy Sherald, Michelle Obama’s Chosen Portraitist, Is Now a Bona Fide Art-Market Success Story | Artnet

This week, amid the hustling, bustling free-for-all of emerging talent at Miami’s Untitled Art Fair, three paintings hanging at the booth of Chicago’s Monique Meloche gallery seem beamed in from another time and place. Exquisitely rendered portraits that are as calmly assured as the African-American subjects gazing out from their canvases, they are by Amy Sherald, the 44-year-old Baltimore-based artist who rocketed to fame from semi-obscurity this October when the National Portrait Gallery commissioned her to paint Michelle Obama.

Perhaps you would like to buy one? Fat chance—at $50,000 apiece, all three were secured for museums on the fair’s opening day. Anyone who wants a Sherald for themselves has to get at the back of a long and growing line.

For the painter, this week’s success represents the latest peak in a rapid and remarkable climb that is also, one hopes, a model for sustainability in a flash-in-the-pan art market.


The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (Website).