In the USA, the first picture that television artist Bob Ross ever painted on TV is for sale – for the proud price of almost ten million dollars.
Although the work “A Walk in the Woods,” like all Ross pictures, is not a masterpiece, that is not what the art of the painting presenter, who is also popular in Germany, is about, said Ryan Nelson, owner of the Modern Artifact gallery in Minneapolis (state of Minnesota).
Ross was “the people’s artist” and the viewers of his show loved his landscape paintings. “It’s not a high-profile gallery that tells you Bob Ross is great. “It’s the general public, the population of the world, that says Bob Ross is great,” Nelson said.
“A Walk in the Woods” was the first of more than 400 paintings Ross produced in his long-running TV painting course “The Joy of Painting.” They depicted idealized natural scenes with streams, mountains, waterfalls, conifers and rustic cabins. For each picture he needed less than half an hour and little more material than a large bristle brush and a spatula. With his perm, full beard and always unbuttoned shirt, Ross is still considered a cult figure today. A YouTube channel where the old episodes can be seen has 5.63 million subscribers.
During the first broadcast, recorded on January 11, 1983, in Falls Creek, Virginia, for the non-commercial educational broadcaster PBS, Ross emphasized that art does not have to be pretentious: Many viewers have “avoided painting for so long because we have been there all the time “It was said that you have to go to school half your life, maybe even be blessed by Michelangelo at birth, to ever be able to paint a picture.” With his new show he wants to prove that anyone can paint. Ross hosted the show until 1994, when he died the following year at the age of just 52.
Ryan Nelson has already bought and sold more than 100 Ross works and says he discovered his passion for art through Bob Ross. “A Walk in the Woods” was offered to him by a former PBS employee who bought the picture a few months after its premiere for an undisclosed price and had it hanging on her wall in her home for 39 years.
Nelson said he doesn’t think a buyer will be found very quickly who is willing to pay the required $9.85 million. He could imagine exhibiting the picture in museums for a long time – so that as many people as possible could enjoy Ross’ work.