Bob Ross is one of the most respected and highly popular names in the world of art and creativity. Well, if you are an artist, you must know who Bob Ross is. And it would not be a subject of astonishment if the great artist’s paintings were sold for whopping amounts.
The artwork, known as “A Walk in the Woods” (1983), produced in the inaugural episode of the renowned TV show “The Joy of Painting” hosted by Bob Ross, is now up for sale, as revealed by The Art Newspaper recently on Thursday.
Minneapolis art gallery Modern Artifact has placed a staggering price tag of $9.85 million on the Bob Ross artwork during the inaugural episode of his beloved TV show. Nevertheless, the gallery describes this item as a “not-for-sale item” because they intend to embark on a tour with the artwork.
Bob Ross’s incredible career in painting
Bob Ross was the host of “The Joy of Painting,” a well-known instructional art program that aired on American public broadcaster PBS from 1983 to 1994. Across more than 400 episodes, Ross demonstrated his painting techniques, primarily focusing on nature and landscape scenes.
He became famous for his soothing demeanor and encouraging phrases like “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” Ross was also known for his fondness for painting “happy little trees” and “happy little clouds.”
While Bob Ross created thousands of paintings before his passing in 1995, very few of his works have appeared in auctions. Most of the paintings he made for “The Joy of Painting” are stored in the offices of Bob Ross Inc., the company managing his intellectual property, which has no intentions of selling these works.
However, Modern Artifact, an art gallery in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has previously sold several Ross paintings, recently listed “A Walk in the Woods (1983), featured in the first owned by a woman who volunteered at the PBS station where “The Joy of Painting” was filmed.
She had acquired it through an auction supporting the station and sold it to Modern Artifact last year. The gallery has priced it at a remarkable $9.85 million, although they acknowledge that finding a buyer at this high price might be challenging.
Ryan Nelson of Modern Artifact stated, “We are witnessing significant demand for his original works, which are rarely available. Assessing the value of this piece is difficult due to its historical significance, popularity, and the fact that it is the very first on-air painting from ‘The Joy of Painting.’
If someone were to make a seven-figure offer, we would certainly consider it. Until then, we plan to tour this Bob Ross painting, which marked the beginning of it all.”
Bob Ross left a lasting footprint on popular culture.
The very first episode of “The Joy of Painting,” featuring Bob Ross crafting “A Walk in the Woods,” is fully accessible on YouTube. He and his show have made a significant imprint on mainstream culture, and allusions to the artist and his creations can be found across different types of media. Actor Owen Wilson portrayed a character in his film “Paint” that drew inspiration from Bob Ross.
In a statement, the owner of the gallery, Ryan Nelson, emphasized Bob Ross’s unique position in both the art world and cultural history. He pointed out, “Bob Ross has surpassed Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso as the most frequently searched artist on the internet, according to Google Analytics data.”
Bob Ross has transitioned into a crossover sensation, captivating an internet-savvy generation seeking solace amidst the chaos of online searches. In 2015, the video game streaming platform Twitch, owned by Amazon, organized a marathon featuring all 403 episodes of “The Joy of Painting.” Upon its conclusion, Twitch reported that 5.6 million unique viewers had tuned in.
Additionally, there was the Netflix documentary “Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed” in 2021 and the Owen Wilson film “Paint,” which drew inspiration from Bob Ross. “A Walk in the Woods” represents just one of the nearly 30,000 paintings believed to have been created by Ross during his lifetime, with over 1,000 produced for his television show alone.
This specific painting was in the possession of a woman who volunteered at the station where Bob Ross recorded his iconic television show. She acquired it through an auction held to support the station. Bob Ross passed away in 1995 due to complications from lymphoma.