The first-ever painting Bob Ross created for his television debut, titled “A Walk in the Woods,” is on the market for an eye-popping $9.8 million.
The world remembers Bob Ross for his soothing voice, trademark perm, and unpretentious painting tutorials on his famed TV show, “The Joy of Painting.” Now, fans have an opportunity to own a piece of that legacy.
Crafted in 1983 during the premiere episode of the show's inaugural season, the oil-on-canvas artwork exhibits a serene woodland scene beside a river, painted by Ross in under thirty minutes. This masterpiece, which captures the very essence of Ross's ethos, has been listed on the Modern Artifact website, with gallery owner Ryan Nelson taking the helm of its sale.
Ryan Nelson expressed his sentiment about the painting to ABC News, saying, “What this piece represents is the people’s artist. This isn’t an institution that’s telling you that Bob Ross is great. It’s not some high-brow gallery telling you that Bob Ross is great. This is the masses, the population in the world, that are saying that Bob Ross is great.”
In the episode featuring “A Walk in the Woods,” Ross, characterized by his iconic perm, full beard, and relaxed attire, emphasized the accessibility of painting. He famously remarked,
“We have avoided painting for so long because...you have to be blessed by Michelangelo at birth, to ever be able to paint a picture. And here, we want to show you that that’s not true. That you can paint a picture.”
The late artist, who graced our screens from 1983 to 1994, always sought to engage directly with his viewers, motivating them to join him in painting picturesque landscapes—each constructed with remarkable speed.
Nelson, a longtime fan and owner of Modern Artifact, likened the painting to the “rookie card for Bob Ross.” Despite the painting's rich history, Nelson doesn't anticipate an immediate sale due to the hefty price tag. Instead, he views this as an opportunity to showcase the painting to a wider audience, further cementing Ross' legacy.
Having grown up appreciating art primarily through Ross's shows, Nelson eventually became a prominent collector of Ross's pieces, acquiring and reselling over 100 of them. After purchasing “A Walk in the Woods” last year, Nelson initially labeled it with a “not for sale” price tag of $9.85 million, as relayed by publicist Megan Hoffman.
Highlighting Ross's growing popularity, evidenced by the impressive 5.63 million subscribers on his dedicated YouTube channel, Hoffman mentioned, “Ryan would prefer to take it out, tour it around to museums and things like that so people can enjoy it and appreciate it. He will take offers but he's not in a hurry to sell it.”
For admirers of Bob Ross and art enthusiasts alike, this painting serves as a testament to the enduring influence and beloved nature of Ross' work in the art community and beyond.