FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Barack Obama’s Official White House Portrait?
An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows former President Barack Obama’s official White House portrait.
Obama’s official White House portrait has not yet been released. The artist that painted the portrait being shared has confirmed it is not an official portrait.
The unveiling of Obama’s official portrait in a ceremony hosted by President Donald Trump at the White House will reportedly not take place, sources familiar with the matter told NBC News earlier this month. Katie Hill, a spokesperson for Obama, declined to comment to NBC News at the time, and so did the White House.
The tradition of sitting presidents inviting their immediate predecessor to the White House to unveil their official portrait has been maintained for decades, according to CNN. (Did Obama Award The Presidential Medal Of Freedom To Clinton, Cosby, Weiner And Weinstein?)
The Facebook post, which features a painting of Obama posing in a tan suit, claims that it is the former president’s official White House portrait, saying, “Here is the painting traditionally hung in the White House with a (sic) unveiling ceremony. It will not happen By mutual agreement as Trump with (sic) not hang it up…while he occupies.”
But the painting displayed in the Facebook post was created by Dutch artist Edwin van den Dikkenberg, who has confirmed that it was not an official presidential portrait. A similar claim about his painting previously circulated on Twitter in 2017, BuzzFeed News reported.
“I’m very pleased to hear that my portrait of Barack Obama appeared on Twitter!” he told BuzzFeed News in 2017. “I wish I had the opportunity to paint the official portrait but that’s not the case.”
Recent Facebook posts making similar claims have also featured the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s official portrait of Obama. That painting, created by Kehinde Wiley, is an official portrait of the former president but differs from the official White House portrait, which is commissioned by the White House Historical Association, according to Snopes.
The official White House portrait of Obama has not been released so far. The White House Historical Association’s online presidential portrait gallery currently shows a photo of Obama instead of a painting.