The very first painting from famed painter and television host Bob Ross's The Joy of Painting program has gone on sale for nearly $10 million.
That's the price a Minneapolis gallery is asking for "A Walk in the Woods," the first of more than 400 paintings created by Ross during his show's 11-year run.
"It is season one, episode one of what you would call the rookie card for Bob Ross," said gallery owner Ryan Nelson of Modern Artifact.
On that first episode, Ross stressed that painting doesn'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," said Ross in 1983. "And here, we want to show you that that’s not true. That you can paint a picture."
Ross, who served in the Air Force for 20 years before hosting his show, died in 1995 due to complications from lymphoma.
"What this piece represents is the people’s artist," said Nelson. "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."
The first season of “The Joy of Painting” was filmed in Falls Creek, Virginia, and the painting from Ross’ first show was sold months later to raise funds for the local PBS station. A volunteer at the station bought the painting for an undisclosed price and hung it in her home for 39 years until getting in touch with Nelson, who has bought and sold more than 100 of Ross’ works.
Nelson bought the painting last year and then gave it a “not for sale” price of $9.85 million, said publicist Megan Hoffman. -Fox5
Watch Ross paint "A Walk in the Woods":