The 20th/21st Century Design sale at Rago Arts of Lambertville, New Jersey on October 26-28 included this exceptional enamel by Alexander Fisher (1864-1936).
Measuring 17½ x 22in (44 x 56cm), the bronze, foil-backed and enamelled copper triptych titled In Praise of Womanhood is signed and dated 1901 and was sold with four original letters from artist to patron Mrs Easton of La Crosse, Wisconsin.
"It has received very great praise from all who have seen it: and it is the largest & best enamel that I have yet done," wrote Fisher to Mrs Easton in November 22, 1901. Fisher, who charged his American customer £100, later featured the triptych in his treatise The Art of Enamelling Upon Metal, 1906 a re-print of which was also included in the lot.
Estimated at $14,000-19,000, it sold at $32,500 (£21,050).
Despite the presence of Hurricane Sandy, the sale was bolstered by the sale of a Frederick Hurten Rhead peacock tile panel for $495,000 (£325,660). With premium added ($637,500) this represented a new record for American Arts and Crafts that finally betters the premium-inclusive $596,500 paid for Barbra Streisand's Gustav Stickley sideboard at Christie's in November 1999.
Rhead created the four-tile, 21in (52cm) square in 1910 during his tenure at University City Pottery near St Louis and gave it to friend and colleague at the Weller Pottery, Levi Burgess, for his Zanesville, Ohio, residence.
The buyer was the Two Red Roses Foundation of Palm Harbor Florida, an educational institution dedicated to the American Arts and Crafts movement.
The buyer's premium was 25/20/12%