Bob Ross’ First On-Air Painting Is Up for Sale for Almost $10 Million

Bob Ross’ First On-Air Painting for Sale for Almost $10 Million

Bob Ross' first painting, “A Walk in the Woods,” done on air for his beloved show. (Photo: Modern Artifact)

Bob Ross holds a special place in America's heart. The star of The Joy of Painting, a PBS show which aired from 1983 to 1994, brought joy and confidence to many with his gentle approach to “happy accidents” and the universality of art. Ross became famous for his brushstrokes and his iconic curls; but today, his over 30,000 works of art are hard to find for those interested in collecting. Now, an incredibly unique opportunity has presented itself. Fans with about $10 million to spare can indulge their Bob Ross devotion by purchasing his first on-air painting, A Walk in the Woods, which has recently been offered for sale by Modern Artifacts.

The painting was created in 1983 for the first-ever episode of Ross' show. The small oil and canvas work is framed in gold. It was auctioned in 1983 by PBS, and that owner has recently passed it on to Modern Artifacts. “It’s a truly irreplicable, one-of-a-kind painting,” says Modern Artifact owner Ryan Nelson. “While the gallery is accepting offers to purchase ‘A Walk in the Woods,’ 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.” The painting is listed at $9.85 million, although offers will be considered. The painting depicts a charming wilderness scene of the type Ross was famous for.

The beloved TV host and artist drew his passion for woods from a military posting in Alaska, although he had been raised in Florida. The painter died of lymphoma in 1995 at the young age of 52. Despite his tragic early passing, the artist and his show's fame has only grown in the internet age. Many of the devotees watching his posthumous YouTube channel or dressing up as him for Halloween were born after his untimely death. The Joy of Painting was a noticeable refuge for many during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering a dose of nostalgia alongside Ross' calming demeanor.

For those seeking to bring some calm into their home, A Walk in the Woods might be the perfect opportunity to own a masterpiece. However, for those without $10 million to spare, you can catch the first-ever episode of Ross' show, listen to his instructions, and make your own.

Bob Ross' iconic show, The Joy of Painting, featured hundreds of the artist's works. His iconic first on-air masterpiece is now available to own, if you have almost $10 million.

Bob Ross’ First On-Air Painting for Sale for Almost $10 Million

Ross' iconic signature. (Photo: Modern Artifact)

h/t: [Hyperallergic]

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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