Imagine an eclectic mind who is living his life to the fullest, documenting it every step of the way in style of most Instagram or Facebook users today. Only, Anthony Lister is doing it with charcoal, spray paint, oil paint or acrylic, and his drawings and paintings are certainly not the most tedious kind that depicts food or sunsets either. They are parodies of modern life, inspired by an entire list of movements like graffiti, stencilling, street art, Pop art, comic book art, cartoons, installations, and of course Lowbrow, of which he is a big part. This artist is like the ultimate doodler/painter of the everyday, the creator of a tension between abstraction and figuration, the kind of artist who makes making art look like something that comes within so easily, spontaneously, without much ado or thinking.
As one of the most prominent Australian artists today, Anthony Lister has had a moderate success at art auctions, with a total turnover of $194,283 and 44 artworks sold between 2009 and 2015. His most successful year was 2012, and most of his sold artworks were made before 2010. Among the most expensive paintings, there are many lady superheroes, and in this battle of which of them would become his priciest artwork at auctions, you’d be surprised to see who won. The paintings that follow either went over their high estimates or under the low ones, with some cases being more curious than others.
For all of his art pieces at auctions, make sure you visit the artist’s page, and for the 6 most expensive ones, make sure you scroll down!
With a title like Monkey Drink, you shouldn’t expect nothing less. It is really a monkey, who is making a drink… well, you get it from the painting. Anthony Lister is quite known for his ironic take on his surroundings, although I’m not sure I want to know what inspired him to paint this piece in particular. Valued between $9,850 and $12,700, the work went for $9,145, not even reaching its low estimate.
She is Wonder Woman, a warrior princess of the Amazons and known in her homeland as Princess Diana of Themyscira. In this Anthony Lister painting, she is a little more voluptuous than we’re used to, and we really don’t have anything against it. Woman in the Valley was sold at Menzies Art Brands in Sydney in 2012 for $9,437, which was 10% less than its low estimate of $10,500. The high estimate of $15,700 was not quite within Wonder Woman’s reach this time.
In a rare Anthony Lister painting which does not poke fun at reality or depict a superhero, we see a group of people “in transit” and our attention seems to be on the red bicycle standing out in the dominant grey. In 2011, In Transit No.5 had great success at auction, going 120% on its high estimate, but in 2012 it was sold for $5,375, which was 23% less than its high estimate of $7,000. Better luck next time!
Finally an artwork which paid off! Ever dance with a suicide blonde went for $11,726 in 2013, which was 40% more than the high estimate of $8,280, at Digard Paris. This diptych appears to be a single image, only mirrored, and in it we see a doll-like blonde with a nurse hat dancing with a Batman-like man with a suicide vest. Oh, and a birthday hat. Because you thought this would make sense? Think again, it’s Anthony Lister we’re talking about here.
Supernatural Disorder 4 is an ink, charcoal, spray paint, synthetic polymer paint and oil on canvas executed in 2014. It is beautiful to look at, with so many colors dripping down the frame from the figure of a female superhero in a bad mood. In 2015, the artwork went for its high estimate of $12,400, and not a single dollar more. It is a fine example of Anthony Lister’s art and his second most expensive work - who got to be stronger than this badass lady?
There’s your answer - Spider Woman! Fierce as ever, she is red hot, with spider web around her and her arms up in the air. Spider Woman made it over the high estimate - barely. The work was sold for $16,504, topping its maximum value for 3% and going for double its low estimate. It was last sold in 2014, at Menzies Art Brands in Sydney. It is a large canvas too: 161 x 161 cm. We’re sure that one of the world’s most popular female superheroes, interpreted by Anthony Lister, looks incredible seen in person on such a vast painting surface.
Featured image: Anthony Lister. Image courtesy of Metro Gallery.