Oprah Winfrey Is Honored With a Painting Permanently at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery

Trailblazing Americans have their likeness hanging on the walls of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. The latest to join the company of presidents, entertainers, and athletes with a brand new portrait is Oprah Winfrey. The entrepreneur and TV personality recently unveiled the life-size painting, created by Shawn Michael Warren, in the Washington, D.C., museum.

“As I stand here on the eve of my 70th birthday, to have a portrait included in the National Portrait Gallery, alongside all the greats: Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln and Ida B. Wells, Michelle and Barack Obama, Lena Horne, John F. Kennedy… Oprah Winfrey,” Winfrey said during a speech at the unveiling of the portrait.

Finding the right artist to paint the portrait was a five-year endeavor before Winfrey personally selected Warren. Speaking about this task, the artist told Oprah Daily, “I wanted to carefully represent her, but I also thought about how she would be depicted to the generations that aren’t here yet—who will see it long after we’re gone, 100 years from now, when it starts to cross over into a piece of art history.” The painting sees Winfrey holding an olive branch on a sunny day on the grounds of her Montecito, California, home.

In the portrait, Winfrey dons a floor-length taffeta gown that represents a watershed moment of her career. In 1985, she starred in an adaptation of Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple, which earned her a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, cementing her as a star and media personality. Later, with her role as a producer of the Broadway musical in 2005 and an upcoming 2023 movie adaptation of the musical, Winfrey's relationship with The Color Purple has come full circle, representing her reach behind and in front of the camera.

“Of all the dreams I’ve had, I didn’t even know there was a national gallery to dream and aspire for,” Winfrey wrote on Instagram. The painting is now on view on the first floor of the National Portrait Gallery, and has been added to the museum's permanent collection. The TV personality concluded her message thanking those who made the portrait possible, and invited her fans to go to see it at the museum. She exclaimed, “I can’t wait for y’all to visit the portrait and meet her!”

A new Oprah Winfrey portrait was unveiled at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

The life-size painting was created by artist Shawn Michael Warren, and is now part of the museum's permanent collection.


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Una publicación compartida por Oprah Daily (@oprahdaily)

Oprah Winfrey: Website | Instagram
h/t: [Today]

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Regina Sienra

Regina Sienra is a Staff Writer at My Modern Met. Based in Mexico City, Mexico, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with specialization in Journalism from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has 10+ years’ experience in Digital Media, writing for outlets in both English and Spanish. Her love for the creative arts—especially music and film—drives her forward every day.
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