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Where Bob Ross’ 1,143 Paintings Disappeared And Why They Can Never Be Purchased
By Mikelle Leow, 15 Jul 2019
Image via Zoe Cappello / Shutterstock.com
Especially in these trying times, everyone could use a bit more Bob Ross positivity in their lives. The sad news is that, while fans can emanate his joy, they never never own a piece of him.
It is believed that the late artist created about 1,143 paintings during his 11 years as host of PBS’ The Joy of Painting; Ross painted three of the same artwork for each of its 400-plus episodes. For decades, people have tried to purchase his oil landscapes, but to no avail.
They were also difficult to trace, and for 25 years since the painter’s passing, the paintings seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth. That was until recently, when the New York Times ran an investigation locating the whereabouts of the masterpieces.
The paintings turned out to be in the possession of Ross’ longtime business and painting partner, Annette Kowalski, and her daughter Joan, the president of the Bob Ross Inc. headquarters in Virginia.
While the mystery has been solved, enthusiasts of The Joy of Painting series will have to sadly give up their dreams of owning a Bob Ross piece despite knowing of the artworks’ location. The Kowalskis revealed that the paintings are off-limits as the man wasn’t interested in money and it “wasn’t really Bob’s thing.”
“It actually has never really occurred to us,” Joan Kowalski shared. “We’ve never really talked about [selling them].”
Ross’ former business partner described that when she first met the previously unknown artist at a painting lesson in the 1980s, she was so “mesmerized” by him that she ceased all ability to paint at the moment. Later on, she convinced him to teach in Northern Virginia, where they set up an advert for his classes via a television network. It was there that Ross was “discovered,” as the station manager felt he had star quality.
In a separate interview with Five Thirty-Eight, via Inquisitr, Joan Kowalski also recalled the man as someone who was simply “doing what he enjoyed doing and interacting with people,” so it makes sense why he would not be so open to selling his pieces if he were alive today.
“There wasn’t anything we did that was for money,” she related. “It was really just to make people happy.”
You can still enjoy Bob Ross paintings in person, though. Some of the 1,143 pieces were donated by Bob Ross Inc. to the Smithsonian as part of a permanent exhibit at the National Museum of American History.
Ross passed on on 4 July 1995 at the age of 52 from lymphoma. The official Bob Ross Twitter account regularly posts inspirational sayings by the man, so if you need a little uplifting, check that out.
[via TIME and Inquisitr, video via The New York Times, images via various sources]
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