Bob Ross’ art from ‘The Joy of Painting’ is for sale for $10 million: NPR | Albiseyler

Bob Ross' art from 'The Joy of Painting' is for sale for $10 million: NPR

Screenshot from the premiere The joy of painting shows painter Bob Ross with A Walk in the Woods for sale.

YouTube/Screenshot by NPR

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YouTube/Screenshot by NPR

Screenshot from the premiere The joy of painting shows painter Bob Ross with A Walk in the Woods for sale.

YouTube/Screenshot by NPR

A painting from the very first episode of Bob Ross’ “The Joy of Painting” could be yours, but not for cheap.

With name A walk in the forestthe piece is listed at $9.85 million and could be the most expensive and historically resonant Ross piece ever sold.

The piece depicts a winding stone path, an azure pond and a handful of glowing trees — all elements that were painted in less than 30 minutes during the premiere of what would become the hit PBS show.

The following 31 seasons (403 episodes) of the series The joy of painting propelled Ross into one of the most recognizable faces of the 20th century art world, not to mention a pop culture icon known for his upbeat attitude and crazy aphorisms.

Before even picking up a paintbrush in the first episode, Ross outlines what viewers can expect from the show: simple step-by-step instructions drawn with a few basic tools and the same colors each week.

“There’s no secret to it. Anyone can paint,” he says later, rubbing the canvas into a shape that later turns into a tree. “All you need is a dream in your heart and a little practice.”

Episode One of the PBS show, “The Joy of Painting”

Bob Ross

The painting is signed “Ross” in red in the lower left corner. Whoever buys the painting will receive a written statement from its original owner — a PBS volunteer who bought the painting at a benefit auction.

“I don’t know the exact number she paid at the time, but knowing what others paid in the same period, I would guess it was somewhere under $100,” says Ryan Nelson, owner of the Modern Artifact gallery in Minneapolis.

Nelson, whose gallery has become a major broker in the growing Ross market, said he bought the painting from a PBS volunteer with the intention of selling it, but now he’s not so sure he’s ready to let it go.

“I think the biggest thing we can do with it is travel. I’d rather get it out in front of the public,” he said. “But there are definitely offers I’d probably have to take.

He’s confident he’ll get his asking price, even though most of the Ross paintings he’s traded for don’t even exceed the six-figure range.

Part of his confidence is that Ross has recently seen a cultural resurgence as younger generations discover his appeal through the Internet.

This moment can be traced back to 2015 when streaming service Twitch marathoned old episodes of Ross and attracted about 5.6 million viewers.

Today, Bob Ross Official YouTube Page boasts over 5.62 million subscribers. Netflix re-aired Ross’ second series from 1991 Beauty is everywherein 2016 and reruns The joy of painting still appear regularly on public television.

The rise in popularity came with increased interest in owning a Ross painting. But like The New York Times put it under investigation in 2019The lack of Ross’s work available is among the “greatest mysteries of the Internet”.

Ross once said he painted over 30,000 paintings during his lifetime and probably painted 1,143 of them himself for the filming of the show: FiveThirtyEight website analysis he calculated that he created images for 381 of the 403 episodes, and his standard practice was to create three identical images for each show; one as a template to copy, one for the camera and the third after the performance for use in teaching materials.

An estimated 1,165 of his pieces are stored by his surviving company, Bob Ross Inc. The New York Times in 2019 that she has no intention of selling the works, but has since parted with several to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

What happened to the rest of the work? Some Internet enthusiasts say that Ross did not want his paintings to be available for sale because it would take away from the joy he got from his work. Nelson doesn’t buy that theory.

“He sold them in malls, gave them out at painting classes, so there are a lot of paintings,” he said. “Unfortunately, I believe that many of those paintings did not achieve the popularity that Ross has today.”

But in a way, Ross would like that too, Nelson said. He wasn’t interested in giving his art to affluent collecting types or seeking fortune alongside his fame.

One thing is clear, Ross wanted everyone to learn how to paint. Maybe the rest was just a happy coincidence.

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