WAYZATA, Minn. — He's one of the most well-known artists of our time — a cultural icon, even.
Bob Ross became a household name through his long-running show, "The Joy of Painting," and now, the very first piece from that series is up for sale.
Twin Cities-based gallery, Modern Artifact, has listed the original oil painting — "A Walk in the Woods" — for $9.85 million. Ross' signature is located in the bottom left corner, and there are plenty of little happy trees.
Owner Ryan Nelson says his business buys and sells some of the world's most collected and demanded fine art. In fact, "A Walk in the Woods" is one of several Ross paintings he's acquired over the years.
But this one's really special.
"This painting right here is the most important painting," Nelson said. "You could call it the rookie card of Bob Ross. This is the painting painted on season one, episode one."
There were over 400 episodes of "The Joy of Painting." Nelson says he got the painting from a woman who was there during the filming of episode one.
"The lady that had this painting had reached out to our business," Nelson shared. "She said that she had the painting for the last 40 years. She was a worker at PBS … and she was able to acquire it at the auction that happened right after that first season one episode."
Nelson says the woman likely paid under $100 but declined to disclose how much Modern Artifact paid for it. He also says he might not sell it — at least not anytime soon — despite having listed it online.
"I would consider any situation where we can put it out to the public," he said. "I would rather be able to travel the piece … let other people enjoy it."
If sold, the piece would include a written statement from the original owner.
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