President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
Official Presidential Picture(photo)

But the above-displayed image does not show Obama’s official White House portrait. It is actually a painting by Dutch artist Edwin van den Dikkenberg and has no official connections to the White House or Obama. 

Another portrait of Obama was also shared on social media as if it were the portrait scheduled to be unveiled at the White House in 2020

This painting of Obama was done by Kehinde Wiley and was unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in February 2018. While this an official portrait of Obama, it is not the official White House portrait that would have been unveiled at the White House ceremony in 2020. 

The official White House portraits are commissioned by the White House Historical Association, and are distinct from the portraits hanging in the National Portrait Gallery. Official White House portraits are traditionally unveiled by the president’s predecessor near the end of their first term, and end up displayed (or stored) at the White House. 

It’s been a White House tradition for decades: A first-term president hosts a ceremony in the East Room for the unveiling of the official portrait of his immediate predecessor that will hang in the halls of the White House for posterity.

Official White House portraits are separate from the presidential portraits that hang in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, where the Obamas’ were unveiled in February 2018.

The process for the White House portraits begins near the end of a president’s term or soon after, and it takes a few years to complete.

The 44th president looks elegant and confident in his official portrait—but nothing about his expression or appearance would make it, on its own, a particularly signature or memorable image.