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First Bob Ross TV painting goes on sale for nearly 10 million

A Minneapolis gallery is asking for nearly $10 million for Bob Ross' painting "A Walk in the Woods."

Bob Ross, the beloved artist who captivated audiences with his quick and easy painting techniques, would never have imagined that one of his works would be valued at nearly $10 million. However, that is the asking price for "A Walk in the Woods," the very first painting Ross created on his iconic TV series, "The Joy of Painting."

Ryan Nelson, the owner of Modern Artifact, a gallery in Minneapolis, describes this painting as the "rookie card" of Bob Ross. It holds significant historical value as it was created during the show's debut episode on January 11, 1983. Nelson, who grew up in a small town, was introduced to art through Ross' show and has a deep appreciation for his work. While he doesn't anticipate a quick sale due to the high price, he sees it as an opportunity to showcase the painting to a wider audience.

During that inaugural episode, Ross, with his recognizable perm, full beard, and casual attire, emphasized that painting didn't have to be pretentious. His goal was to make art accessible to everyone.

From 1983 to 1994, Ross hosted "The Joy of Painting," speaking directly to viewers and encouraging them to paint along with him. In each episode, he effortlessly created picturesque scenes of serene streams, majestic mountains, cascading waterfalls, and charming cabins and mills. His paintings, including "A Walk in the Woods," may not be considered masterpieces by traditional standards, but that was never the intention.

According to Nelson, this painting represents the essence of a people's artist. It is not an elite institution or high-brow gallery proclaiming Ross's greatness; it is the collective voice of the masses worldwide acknowledging his talent and impact.

Filmed in Falls Creek, Virginia, the first season of "The Joy of Painting" featured "A Walk in the Woods." After the episode aired, the painting was sold to raise funds for the local PBS station. It remained in the possession of a volunteer at the station for 39 years until Nelson acquired it last year. Initially, Nelson set a price of $9.85 million for the painting, but it is not currently available for sale.

The legacy of Bob Ross continues to resonate with art enthusiasts and fans alike. His ability to inspire and simplify the art of painting has left an indelible mark on the world. "A Walk in the Woods" serves as a testament to his enduring popularity and the profound impact he has had on the art community.

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