A Rare Bob Ross Painting from His First TV Show Episode Is Up for Sale for Nearly $10 Million

A painting by the late American artist and TV host Bob Ross, who became famous for his soothing and instructive painting show “The Joy of Painting”, is being offered for sale by a Minneapolis gallery for a staggering $9.85 million. The painting, titled “A Walk in the Woods”, is from the very first episode of Ross’s show, which aired on PBS in 1983 and ran for 31 seasons until 1994.

The Joy of Painting: A Cultural Phenomenon

Bob Ross was not only a painter, but also a teacher, a mentor, and a friend to millions of viewers who tuned in to watch him create beautiful landscapes in less than 30 minutes. He used simple techniques and tools, such as a palette knife, a fan brush, and a limited number of colors, to demonstrate how anyone can paint with “a dream in your heart and a little practice”. He also coined memorable phrases, such as “happy little trees”, “almighty mountains”, and “we don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents”, that became part of his signature style and philosophy.

A Rare Bob Ross Painting from His First TV Show Episode Is Up for Sale for Nearly $10 Million
A Rare Bob Ross Painting from His First TV Show Episode Is Up for Sale for Nearly $10 Million

Ross’s show was not only entertaining, but also therapeutic and inspirational. Many people watched him to relax, to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, or loneliness, or to learn new skills and express themselves creatively. Ross himself said that he wanted to “show people that anybody can paint a picture that they’re proud of”. He also encouraged his viewers to be kind, compassionate, and optimistic, and to appreciate the beauty of nature.

A Walk in the Woods: A Historic Piece of Art

The painting that is up for sale, “A Walk in the Woods”, is one of the rarest and most valuable pieces of Ross’s work. It was painted in front of a live audience during the premiere episode of “The Joy of Painting” on January 11, 1983. It depicts a serene scene of a forest path, a pond, and some trees, with Ross’s signature red signature on the lower left corner. The painting was bought by a PBS volunteer at a benefit auction shortly after the show aired, for less than $100. She kept it for nearly 40 years, until she sold it to Ryan Nelson, the owner of Modern Artifact gallery in Minneapolis.

Nelson, who is an avid collector and dealer of Ross’s paintings, said that he acquired the painting with the intention of selling it, but now he is having second thoughts. He said that he thinks that the painting is “the greatest thing we can do with it is travel it” and that he would rather “get this in front of the public”. However, he also said that he is confident that he will get his asking price, which is based on the historical significance and cultural impact of the painting. He said that he has already received several offers from private collectors and museums.

Bob Ross: A Timeless Icon

Bob Ross died in 1995 at the age of 52 from lymphoma, but his legacy lives on. His show has been rerun on PBS stations, streamed on platforms like Netflix and Twitch, and uploaded on YouTube, where he has over 5.6 million subscribers. His paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world, and his image has been featured on merchandise, memes, parodies, and tributes. He has also inspired countless artists and fans to follow his example and pursue their passion for painting.

Ross once said that “painting is very special to me; it’s my life”. Now, one of his paintings could be yours — for close to $10 million.

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