Amy Sherald


Amy Sherald (born August 30, 1973) is an American painter. She works mostly as a portraitist depicting African Americans in everyday settings. Her style is simplified realism, involving staged photographs of her subjects. Since 2012, her work has used grisaille to portray skin tones, a choice she describes as intended to challenge conventions about skin color and race.

In 2016, Sherald became the first woman as well as the first African American ever to win the National Portrait Gallery's Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition with her painting, Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance). The next year, she and Kehinde Wiley were selected by former President Barack Obama (Wiley) and former First Lady Michelle Obama (Sherald) to paint their official portraits, becoming the first African Americans ever to receive presidential portrait commissions from the National Portrait Gallery. The portraits were unveiled together in 2018 and have significantly increased attendance at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

In December 2020, her piece The Bathers (2015) was sold at auction for $4,265,000, nearly 30 times the presale estimate. On November 17, 2021, Welfare Queen (2012), sold for $3.9M in a Phillips New York auction and brought to light the need for more governance around resale royalties for artists.

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Portrait painter focuses on African-American cultural history and the representation of the African-American body. She painted the official portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama for the National Portrait Gallery, 2018.

Country of birth

United States


Artist, painter

ULAN identifier



Amy Sherald

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Information from the Getty Research Institute's Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License. Accessed June 5, 2024.