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Oprah Winfrey portrait — featuring the color purple — unveiled at National Portrait Gallery

WASHINGTON (AP) — It seemed only fitting that Oprah Winfrey chose to wear a flowing, full-length purple dress for her portrait unveiled Wednesday at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

She told the assembled crowd that she wore purple not because a musical remake of the movie that launched her career is coming out later this month: “I chose to wear the color purple because for me, that color has been seminal in my life.”

As she pulled a curtain and saw the portrait by Chicago artist Shawn Michael Warren for the first time, Winfrey exclaimed: “Spectacular. Great job.”

The painting shows Winfrey against the backdrop of a prayer garden at her home in California. She is holding a sprig from an olive tree.

Warren said he had asked Winfrey to consider how she wanted to be depicted for the generations to come.

“You could have chosen anyone, but you saw fit that an artist from the place you called home during your rise to prominence should be given this honor,” he said.

Winfrey said her role in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film “The Color Purple” served as a foundation for her future. She hosted “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for more than 25 years. “Oprah’s Book Club” helped make her recommended titles bestsellers.

She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.

The National Portrait Gallery said in a statement that her contributions to popular culture and her philanthropy earned her a place at the museum.

“Through her rise to fame as host and producer of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show,’ Oprah demonstrated an unparalleled ability to connect with people and inspire them to become the best versions of themselves,” said Kim Sajet, the gallery’s director.

The portrait is nearly 7 feet tall. It will be on display on the gallery’s first floor.

During her remarks, Winfrey put in a plug for “The Color Purple” movie coming out on Christmas Day. She is a producer of the film.

Get your tickets now, she said.

Article Topic Follows: AP National

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