Bob Ross might have taken an extremely laid back approach to painting, but his work is anything but casual to collectors.
A signed original painting from the first episode of his PBS show “The Joy of Painting” has gone up for sale with a not-so happy little price tag of $9.85 million.
The work, titled “A Walk in the Woods,” could be the most expensive Ross painting ever. While Ross’ name is used regularly to sell everything from paint brushes to energy drinks and his smiling visage is all over the Internet, his actual works of art rarely surface for sale.
Despite producing more than 30,000 paintings over the course of his life, those in charge of his estate have shown little interest in selling them, opting instead to focus on the Bob Ross IP. Paintings are sometimes leased to galleries for exhibits.
On his PBS show alone, he would do three versions of the painting he focused on each week on his show, which aired from 1983 through 1994. (Ross passed away in 1995 from Lymphoma.)
“A Walk in the Woods,” though, was sold long ago to a PBS volunteer at a benefit auction, at an unknown price that was estimated to be less than $100. She later sold it to a Minneapolis gallery, which has now listed it for sale.
“I think that the greatest thing we can do with it is travel it. I’d rather we get this in front of the public,” Ryan Nelson, owner of the gallery, told NPR. “But there are definitely offers that I would probably have to take.”
The painting, which is signed “Ross” in the lower left corner, will come with a written statement from its original owner. It showcases a stone path with a pond and, yes, lots of happy little trees.