Daily Art Moment: Amy Sherald

Image description: Saint Woman, Amy Sherald, 54 x 43 inches, oil on canvas. A portrait of a Black woman in a blue dress, looking to the side against a brilliant yellow background. The woman is shown from the knee up, her body facing front while her head is turned to the right. Her dark skin is painted in hues of deep gray. Her hair is big and full, creating a cloud of black curls around her face. She has high cheekbones, fine arched eyebrows and dark eyes. She wears a high necked turquoise blue dress with elbow length sleeves puffed at the shoulder. Her right arm crosses her body and grasps her left arm which rests by her side. The skirt of her blue dress is softly pleated and gently flares out to the left as if caught in a breeze. The bright yellow textured background seems to glow behind her.

I look at America’s heart—people, landscapes, and cityscapes—and I see it as an opportunity to add to an American art narrative … I paint because I am looking for versions of myself in art history and in the world.

Amy Sherald

We are honored and excited to have the beautiful painting Saint Woman by Amy Sherald on loan to us at the Portland Art Museum. Sherald is one of art’s great portraitists, recognized for her 2018 painting of First Lady Michelle Obama and her 2020 painting of Breonna Taylor. Her sole focus is on Black Americans and most of her subjects are life-size depictions of everyday people, set against a backdrop of vibrant color. In each portrait, Sherald opens a window onto the sitter’s interior life with her ability to observe and capture unique features, expressions, and gestures. I hope you’ll come by and see this piece while we have this opportunity to share it until December.

Sara Krajewski, the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Amy Sherald (American, born 1973), Saint Woman, 2015, oil on canvas, Private Collection, Monique Meloche Gallery and Hauser & Wirth

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