Barack and Michelle Obama portraits unveiled at National Portrait Gallery

- The portraits of former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama have been unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery. 

In a ceremony on Monday, the former president and first lady were joined by a crowd of invited guests which included Michelle's mother and former Vice President Joe Biden. 

Barack Obama's portrait was painted by Kehinde Wiley -- an artist best known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African-Americans. It showed the former President against a background of foliage. "That's pretty sharp," Obama said after embracing Wiley.  The former president, who personally chose Wiley, said the artist listened carefully to his suggestions and then ignored most of them. Obama said he asked for less gray hair and was denied. He also says he tried to "negotiate smaller ears and struck out on that as well." 

For Michelle Obama's portrait, the gallery commissioned Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald, first-prize winner of the Portrait Gallery's 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. The former first lady's portrait was done in black, gray and white with splashes of red and yellow.

The paintings were unveiled Monday at the gallery, which is part of the Smithsonian group of museums. The gallery has a complete collection of presidential portraits.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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