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Bob Ross’s First Completed Work Is Up for Sale for $9.85 M.


Bob Ross
Bob Ross, A Walk in the Woods (1983) COURTESY, MODERN ARTIFACT


Bob Ross’s first completed work, A Walk in the Woods, came to the market and is up for sale for $9.85 million. The artwork came to a finished act during the first episode of the show called ‘The Joy of Painting’. If someone wants to relive the first episode of this famous series, they have to pay a hefty sum. The gallery who is selling the piece priced the painting at $9.85 million.


Bob Ross Surpassed Warhol and Picasso

Bob Ross
Courtesy of Bob Ross Inc.


The gallery in question is Modern Artifact, the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based gallery. The institution is aware that this sum may be too expensive for many, but somehow that is the whole point. The venue also claims it will consider proposals “they would prefer to share it with a museum or traveling exhibit to allow as many people as possible to view such an exciting work of art”.


In the meantime, Modern Artefact intends to tour the artwork independently. Ryan Nelson, the proprietor of the gallery, commented about Ross’s unique position in art and cultural heritage in a press release. “Bob Ross surpassed Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso as the internet’s most searched for artist according to data from Google Analytics”, Ryan Nelson stated.


The joy of painting
Bob Ross at his easel. Via Wikipedia


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He also added: “It’s an incredibly impressive feat, especially considering that there is virtually no official marketing, and his original paintings are nearly impossible to find”. Ross became into an overlapping icon of types. Also, The Joy of Painting  attracted the interest of a generation raised online looking for solace from the SEO tempest.


Many Works Produced

crucifixion picasso sculpture
The Crucifixion by Pablo Picasso, 1932, via Widewalls; next to Erill la Vall Descent from the Cross, the second half of the 12th century, via Wikipedia


Twitch, an Amazon-owned platform for broadcasting video games, had a Bob Ross binge in 2015. It also stole all 403 episodes of the programme. Twitch estimated that 5.6 million distinct individuals checked in after it was rolled out. Then, of course, there was the Netflix documentary Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed in 2021. There was also the Bob Ross-inspired Owen Wilson flick Paint.


The estimated 30,000 canvases Ross produced in his career, including more than 1,000 for his hit TV show. This includes A Walk in the Woods. Considering knowing that Ross frequently produced three copies for each episode of his educational show, his pieces seldom sold at auctions.


NY Comic Con
Cosplay of Bob Ross at New York Comic Con 2016.


“The appeal of Bob Ross extended far beyond the traditional art market and into the world of pop culture. The Bob Ross hype is a rare glimmer of authenticity in a fine art market that is often tightly controlled and highly manipulated”, Nelson said in a statement. Ross died in 1995 due to complications from lymphoma.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.

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