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A Reasonable Facsimile

A work made of encaustic on canvas.

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  • A work made of encaustic on canvas.




Arthur Dove
American, 1880–1946

About this artwork

An exploration of the tensions between representation and abstraction, A Reasonable Facsimile appears purely nonobjective yet nevertheless suggests a landscape. The yellow half-circle at the top could represent the sun, one of Dove’s favorite subjects, and the areas of green and brown may be the earth below. When he exhibited this work in 1942 at An American Place, Dove published a poem in the catalogue, which includes the lines “There is much to be done— / Works of nature are abstract. / They do not lean on other things for meanings.” The title of this painting sums up Dove’s artistic project over the four decades of his career: to capture the abstraction of nature by creating “a reasonable facsimile” of its appearance.


Currently Off View


Arts of the Americas


Arthur Dove


A Reasonable Facsimile


United States (Artist's nationality)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Encaustic on canvas


Signed lower center: Dove


47.3 × 63.2 cm (18 5/8 × 24 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Alfred Stieglitz Collection

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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