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First-ever Bob Ross TV painting listed for sale at $10M

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  • Staff Report 

The inaugural artwork by beloved artist and TV host Bob Ross, known for democratizing art through his series “The Joy of Painting,” is currently listed for nearly $10 million. The piece, titled “A Walk in the Woods,” was created during the premiere episode of his PBS series in 1983. Ross, who passed away in 1995, became a symbol of accessible artistry, guiding viewers in crafting serene landscapes in under thirty minutes, emphasizing that painting could be uncomplicated and approachable.

Ryan Nelson, owner of the Minneapolis gallery, Modern Artifact, is steering the sale of this unique piece, which he likens to Ross’s “rookie card.” Growing up, Nelson cultivated his love for art through Ross’s series and sees the high asking price as an opportunity to exhibit the piece to a broader audience before its eventual sale. This specific work holds a unique significance, symbolizing Ross’s impact as “the people’s artist,” resonating with a vast audience beyond the confines of sophisticated art circles.

“A Walk in the Woods” was initially sold to support a local PBS station in Falls Creek, Virginia, where the first season of “The Joy of Painting” was filmed. The piece remained in private possession for 39 years before being acquired by Nelson, who has previously traded over 100 of Ross’s creations. Despite the lofty price tag, unprecedented for a Ross painting, Nelson isn’t in haste to sell, hoping to tour it to various museums allowing more people to admire and appreciate Ross’s legacy.