About This Artwork

Arthur Dove
American, 1880–1946

A Reasonable Facsimile, 1942

Encaustic on canvas
47.3 x 63.2 cm (18 5/8 x 24 7/8 in.)
Signed lower center: Dove

Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949.541

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.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

New York, An American Place, "Arthur G. Dove," April 14-May 27, 1942, cat. 3.

New York, Museum of Modern Art, "Alfred Stieglitz: His Collection," 1947, cat. 32.

Publication History

Ann Lee Morgan, "Arthur Dove: Life and Work with Catalogue Raisonne" (Associated University Press, 1984) p. 288.

Judith A. Barter et al., "American Modernism at the Art Institute of Chicago, From World War I to 1955," (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2009), cat. 118.

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