Most Expensive Bob Ross Paintings

Most Expensive Bob Ross Paintings – Original Bob Ross Paintings

What is the most expensive Bob Ross painting? How much are Bob Ross’ paintings worth today? From all corners of the globe, the YouTube sensation and father of American instructional painting Bob Ross is one of the most adored celebrity artists of all time. In this article, we will be looking at the most expensive Bob Ross paintings, including the value of Bob Ross paintings today and what made this television artist so special.



The Art of Bob Ross

“There are no mistakes, just happy accidents” is a famous quote by the late television artist Bob Ross, who was arguably one of the most influential modern artists the world has ever seen. Born Robert Norman Ross, Bob Ross made his debut in 1983 under the instructional painting show hosted by the PBS studio in Indiana, The Joy of Painting.

Ross first discovered his love for art and painting while serving in the United States Air Force where he attended art classes and occasionally got into disputes with his instructors due to the preferred aesthetic of abstraction.

The Bob Ross most of us know today is most famous for his alla prima technique, which he learned after watching The Magic of Oil Painting hosted by Bill Alexander. The alla prima technique involves painting an image in one sitting, wet-on-wet, and this challenge immediately caught Ross’ attention. Ross’ first paintings were created on gold-mining plates and featured mini-Alaskan landscapes. Once his income picked up from his paintings, he left his job in the military and invested his time in the arts.

Ross then moved to Florida where he pursued his studies in art and took up a job as a traveling salesman with the Alexander Magic Art Supplies Company. He was also a tutor for painting and was praised so highly by his students that his learner, Anette Kowalski, contributed to investment funds to help Ross start his own company.

Through his new television instructional painting broadcasts, he was also able to promote various art supplies, and soon, his business turned into a $15 million company.

Bob Ross continued to demonstrate the alla prima painting method while using a limited set of tools to create stunning landscapes. His top recommendations included odorless mineral spirits to clean oil brushes, painting knives, and large brushes. His methods were aimed at helping aspiring painters learn how to execute a landscape painting within a short space of time while creating signature “Bob Ross paintings”. For his show, he created three versions of each landscape to illustrate to viewers the final copy and to use as a reference while he was painting on set. Ross would then paint another detailed copy after his show was taped so that he could include it in instructional books.



Bob Ross’ Most Expensive Paintings

Now that you have a brief overview of Bob Ross’ origin story, we can now delve into his most expensive painting. The most expensive Bob Ross painting is Row Boat on the Beach, which is valued at approximately $95,000 and was created in 1992 on season 24, episode 10 of The Joy of Painting. Below, we will examine the painting and unpack questions about Bob Ross’ original painting values and how one might think about value when it comes to the work of a television artist as we explore some of the most expensive Bob Ross paintings.


Mountain Waterfall (1980): $14,959

Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)60.9 x 45.7
Where It Is HousedPrivate collection
Estimated Value $14,959

Mountain Waterfall is one of Ross’ paintings that appeared on two occasions, season two and season five of The Joy of Painting. The painting illustrates a mountainous landscape with a classic Ross waterfall in the foreground. What makes this original Ross artwork so stand out from most waterfall landscapes is the orientation of the painting, which is unusually more vertically oriented than the rest of Ross’ artworks. The painting reminds us of a traditional Chinese landscape with a continuous backdrop of mountains in the distance and the foggy effect of the light pink hue cast by the setting sun. The painting sold for approximately $14,959 online.


Towering Peaks (1980): $17,950

Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)45.7 x 60.9
Where It Is HousedPrivate collection
Estimated Value $17,950

Towering Peaks is an original Bob Ross painting created in 1980 and first appeared on the first episode of season 10 of The Joy of Painting. Rendered with finer detail than his other landscapes with trees, Towering Peaks sold for $17,950 on Modern Artifact. Despite its lack of proper care and exposure to water damage, the painting can still be admired for Ross’ ability to portray different textures in nature with such detail that you are immediately cast into the natural scene.

Ross’ paintings are somewhat of an escape to nature and offer just as much of a peaceful atmosphere to their owners as the artist’s democratic personality did on screen for his viewers.


Winter Moon (1983): $17,950

Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)45.7 x 60.9
Where It Is HousedPrivate collection
Estimated Value $17,950

Winter Moon is another expensive painting by Bob Ross, which sold for $17,950 and showcases a blue overcast winter landscape set in Alaska and primarily focused on the illumination of the snow by the moonlight. The iridescent landscape featured in the first season of Ross’ television show and was one of the first few snowy Alaskan landscapes that Ross created on-screen.


Meadow Lake (1982): $18,950

Medium Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions (cm)45.7 x 61
Where It Is HousedPrivate collection
Estimated Value $18,950

This frameless landscape painting was created in 1982 in acrylic paint that offers the same visual quality as that of Ross’ other oil paintings. The painting sold for $18,950 and is among the most expensive paintings created by Ross in the years leading up to his passing. Meadow Lake features a gorgeous arrangement of trees and greenery surrounding the edge of a lake along with a smooth reflective surface illustrating the water.

The painting was created just one year prior to Ross’ debut on his hit television show, The Joy of Painting.


The Old Water Mill (1984): $19,500

Medium Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions (cm)45.7 x 61 x 2.5
Where It Is HousedPrivate collection
Estimated Value $19,500

The Old Water Mill is considered to be one of the rare Bob Ross paintings for its subject matter, which features a man-made structure. The painting was created in Ross’ Neo-Realist style and showcased his traditional approach to landscape painting while highlighting the man-made textural quality of the old mill. This painting is one of the best examples of Ross’ “happy trees” seen dancing in the foreground and background. The Old Water Mill was first featured in episode nine, season three of Ross’ instructional painting show and was sold by Artsy for $19,500.


Misty Waterfall (1980): $19,950

Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)45.7 x 60.9
Where It Is HousedPrivate collection
Estimated Value $19,950

This museum quality-certified oil painting by Bob Ross is one of the most expensive Bob Ross paintings, created in 1980, and portrays a serene waterfall landscape with an expanse of still water in the background and a pink sunset lighting up the sky.

The painting appeared on Ross’ show in season seven, episode six, and is believed to have been created off-screen.

The painting is currently owned by an anonymous buyer who purchased the work for $19,950 from Modern Artifact. Ross’ blending technique in the pink sunset demonstrates his mastery over gradation and thorough understanding of reflection and light as seen in his skillful rendering of shadows cast by the trees over the water.


Triptych Mountain Landscape (1981): $65,000

Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)61 x 45.7
Where It Is HousedPrivate collection
Estimated Value $65,000

This mountainous landscape is the only triptych by Bob Ross that was created to represent one full mountain landscape and was sold for $65,000 by Artsy. The painting was created in the same year that Ross also left the Air Force, which marked the major career turning point for what was about to be Ross’ launch into the art world. One can almost taste the crisp air of the landscape that is occupied by Ross’ “happy trees” across all panels and the large snow-frosted mountain in the middle panel.


Alaskan Landscape on Gold Pan (1971): $69,000

Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)41.9 x 26.6
Where It Is HousedPrivate collection
Estimated Value $69,000

This unique gold pan painting of an Alaskan landscape was sold for $69,000 on eBay and showcases Ross’ hand at alla prima featuring a few glittered finishing touches. The scene is said to be inspired by Ross’ experience in Alaska while serving in the Air Force.

It features another snowy landscape with Ross’ signature at the bottom in a darker red pigment, which is attributed to his works commonly seen on the television series.

The pan on which it is painted is a souvenir gold-mining pan, which is believed to have been gifted by Bob Ross himself and authenticated by Ross’ long-time business partner at Bob Ross Inc., Annette Kowalski in 2021. The painting is regarded as unique since it may be one of the last few works authenticated by Kowalski, who is also well-versed in Ross’ signature technique.


Northern Lights (Original, Signed) (1980): $88,000

Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)30.4 x 45.7
Where It Is HousedPrivate collection
Estimated Value $88,000

You may wonder what an original Bob Ross painting is worth. This original Bob Ross painting was found as a listing on eBay with its owners selling the work for $88,000. The 30 x 45-centimeter oil painting comes with a certificate of authenticity and is one of four other original Bob Ross paintings purchased by eBay sellers in 2018.

The painting illustrates the northern lights illuminated during a winter evening set against a backdrop of frosted mountains, a snow-covered cabin, a frozen lake, and frosted trees. This painting was probably created as part of Ross’ lesson on creating light and how paint can reflect light. The painting’s authenticity is backed up by its certificate of authenticity and Ross’ signature on the painting and certificate.


Row Boat on the Beach (1992): $95,000

Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)81.3 x 66 x 5.1
Where It Is HousedModern artifact, online
Estimated Value $95,000

Row Boat on the Beach is the most famous Bob Ross painting from season 24, episode 10 television broadcast of The Joy of Painting, which is signed with Ross’ name at the bottom. This work was created on the set and is valued at around $95,000.

Throughout his career, Ross created more than 30,000 landscapes with Row Boat on the Beach depicting an idyllic beach scene in an oval-shaped vertical format. Bob Ross takes you through the creation of the painting, including the specific colors, brushes, and techniques he used to create it.

His limited period to create the painting also makes this work a unique addition for any collector. Ross’ combination of phthalo blue with white, midnight black, and emerald green was used to create the wonderful gradient of the blue-green sky that was dimmed down with white to enable the sun’s illumination to come through. His calm and encouraging demeanor is also what aided his rise to fame, in partnership with his iconic permed hairstyle of course. Ross’ mastery over alla prima is also one to be admired since he makes the creation of the painting appear almost effortless.



The Value of Bob Ross’ Paintings

So, how much are Bob Ross’ paintings worth? Determining the value of an artist’s work is informed by the reputation of the artist as well as the production and quality of the work made. Traditionally, artists in the fine art sphere tend to follow the career path affiliated with galleries, major commissions, and artistic fame driven by specific movements or challenges to preceding art trends.

Bob Ross’ original painting values are estimated depending on the originality of the painting and how rare or different it is compared to the rest of his works.

The work of Bob Ross does not fall into the traditional route of artistic fame since his recognition as an artist came primarily from his television show and eventually his YouTube videos. YouTube is a platform that enables viewers from all over the world to access certain content and this was perhaps key to Ross’ widespread fame as one of the greatest art teachers of all time. His digital legacy is what makes his work iconic and his name so familiar to all, such that his reputation is timeless. In a way, Ross cut out the middle-man gallery and proceeded to turn his passion for art into a business.

Original Bob Ross Paintings
A cosplay of artist Bob Ross at New York Comic Con in 2016; Bob Ross, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Thus, Ross not only provided education to a global audience and gained fans, but also commercialized his work through books and collaborated with other brands on endorsing art supplies. Ross’ name became associated with the idea of painting tutorials and instructional videos that also broadened access to the arts away from solely an academic setting, which makes his work not only inspirational and educational but also significant in the broader realm of how an artist might expand their impact on society while fully supporting themselves and not falling into the stereotype of the starving artist.

Going back to the value of Bob Ross’ paintings today, it is likely that his paintings fall between the monetary estimate of hundreds of dollars up to $95,000, with the potential for the value to increase if his other paintings in storage are sold for higher prices.

Many of Ross’ remaining paintings are stored in the archives of the Bob Ross company facility in Virginia without priority on their condition of storage or preservation, yet they are still stored in a safe environment that does not place the works in any harmful way. It is unlikely that the Bob Ross company would sell the paintings but if they chose to do so, they would probably be worth a lot more than $10 each.


The value of Bob Ross and his artworks is not entirely tied to their monetary value, instead, his impact on art education and access to it has established his name, which is currently still so familiar to many. Bob Ross passed away at the age of 52 from lymphoma in 1995 and has since remained an iconic figure to all artists despite a few harsh critics over the years.




Frequently Asked Questions


Why Is Bob Ross Famous?

Bob Ross is famous for being one of the most viewed art tutorial instructors on YouTube and American television since his television series, The Joy of Painting, which debuted in the 1980s. Bob Ross is also famous for his environmental landscape paintings and humorous internet personality.


What Is Bob Ross’ Most Expensive Painting?

Bob Ross’ most expensive painting is considered to be Row Boat on the Beach, which was created in 1992 just a few years before Ross’ death in 1995. The painting currently stands at $95,000 and is also the most famous Bob Ross painting.


Where Are Bob Ross’ Paintings from The Joy of Painting?

Bob Ross’ paintings from The Joy of Painting are currently stored at the Bob Ross Inc. headquarters in Virginia under the supervision of Annette Kowalski and her daughter, who both run the company.


Cite this Article

Jordan, Anthony, “Most Expensive Bob Ross Paintings – Original Bob Ross Paintings.” artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source. January 20, 2023. URL:

Anthony, J. (2023, 20 January). Most Expensive Bob Ross Paintings – Original Bob Ross Paintings. artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source.

Anthony, Jordan. “Most Expensive Bob Ross Paintings – Original Bob Ross Paintings.” artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source, January 20, 2023.

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