Shortly after her portrait was unveiled on Wednesday at the National Portrait Gallery, Oprah Winfrey told the 100 or so guests, to laughter, “I chose the color purple not just because I knew the movie was coming out.”
In her portrait, from artist Shawn Michael Warren, Winfrey is in a striking purple dress, standing near a tree at her Montecito property, and beaming. The portrait will soon go on display at the gallery, joining those of presidents, civil rights figures and entertainers.
Winfrey said that she chose the color purple because it has had special meaning in her life, most recently the musical version of the movie debuting this month.
Winfrey fought back some tears as she talked about being included in the gallery along with figures such as Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Lena Horne and Barack and Michelle Obama. Winfrey’s ceremony in the main atrium rivaled in size that of the Obamas, whose portraits have become one of the star attractions at the gallery.
Warren called Winfrey “one of the most influential and polarizing figures of our time, a pioneer in the arts, entertainment, a generous giver and a woman who has been in our homes and lives for years and can relate to many of us when it comes to everyday challenges of life.”