What Happened to Bob Ross’s Paintings

Photo Credit: Instagram / @bobross_thejoyofpainting

Bob Ross’s painting show is popular because it’s wholesome, deeply soothing, and ironically funny. But let’s not forget that Bob was also a skilled artist who painted 1000+ landscapes over the course of his TV show. In one interview, he claimed to have completed over 30,000 paintings total.

That’s a LOT of paintings. But until very recently, nobody knew where the hell they were, The New York Times reports.


Bob made three versions of each painting that was featured on The Joy of Painting. He painted one before the episode was filmed (as a reference), one live in the studio, and one afterwards for instructional books.

He did this for each one of the 403 episodes that he filmed over the course of the show. That’s part of why there are so many Bob Ross paintings now.

Bob Ross Inc, the company that manages Bob’s modern-day image and sells his merchandise, has never even considered putting his paintings up for sale. They believe that his legacy is about happiness — it’s about the process, not the product.

So, for years, the vast majority of Bob’s paintings have been stacked in cardboard boxes in a room at the Bob Ross Inc. headquarters in Virginia. They’re well-organized, but not very carefully stored. They are not for sale, and they probably never will be.

Photo Credit: eBay

On very rare occasions, Bob’s paintings make it out into the art market. His works have sold on the internet for thousands of dollars.

There are a ton of “imitation” Bob Ross paintings available online, and some of them can be rather convincing, but they are not authentic. (Bob Ross Inc. will authenticate original Bob Ross paintings upon inspection.)

If you can’t get your hands on your own Bob Ross painting, you can always catch one at a museum.


Selected works will be featured in an upcoming exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum in New York alongside the work of other American icons, like Julia Child and Mr. Rogers. Those paintings are now part of the Smithsonian’s permanent collection.

Here is a fantastic piece the New York Times did: