American painter Bob Ross’s first ever piece created on TV has gone on sale for nearly $10 million, after it took just 30 minutes to create.
The artist, who entertained viewers on his PBS TV series ‘The Joy of Painting’, made more than 400 paintings over the course of the 11 years he was on air.
His first, titled ‘A Walk in the Woods’, is currently being listed by a Minneapolis gallery for $9.8 million.
Ryan Nelson owns the gallery, Modern Artifact, and said the work created in the show’s 1983 debut is “season one, episode one of what you could call the rookie card for Bob Ross”.
On that first show, Ross – sporting his beloved perm, full beard and unbuttoned shirt – stressed that painting didn’t need to be pretentious.
“We have avoided painting for so long because I think all of our lives we’ve been told that you have to go to school half your life, maybe even have to be blessed by Michelangelo at birth, to ever be able to paint a picture,” Ross said.
“And here, we want to show you that that’s not true. That you can paint a picture.”
Ross died in 1995 after hosting the popular show from 1983 until 1994. In each episode, he would speak directly to viewers whom he encouraged to paint with him as he created idealized scenes of streams backed by mountains, waterfalls and rustic cabins and mills — all done in half an hour.
“What this piece represents is the people’s artist,” Nelson said. “This isn’t an institution that’s telling you that Bob Ross is great. It’s not some high-brow gallery telling you that Bob Ross is great. This is the masses, the population in the world that are saying that Bob Ross is great.”
Ross’ popularity continues to soar, with a YouTube channel featuring his shows amassing more than five million subscribers.
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