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SOCIAL SECURITY MURAL COMPETITION FEDERAL WORKS AGENCY PUBLIC BUILDINGS ADMINISTRATION WASHINGTON OFFICE OF THE SUPERVISING ARCHITECT IN REPLYING, QUOTE THE ABOVE SUBJECT, BUILDING, AND THESE LETTERS SA- FA October 31, 1940 Mr. Ben Shahn Jersey Homesteads Hightstown, New Jersey Dear Ben: Reference is made to the designs which you submitted in the Social Security Mural Competition. As Mr. Bruce has informed you by wire your designs were chosen as the winners to be carried out in the building. You evidently submitted alternative designs for the large panel broken by the three doors. The jury chose the one with the basket ball game depicted at the left and the scene of construction of a house, a detail of which you submitted, as the panel to be carried out. It will not be possible to write your contract on this work until the designs have been submitted to the Commission of Fine Arts for comment and advice, in accordance with the law regulating works of art going into federal buildings in the District of Columbia. Meanwhile I will appreciate your filling in the enclosed technical outline. I particularly wish you to stress the type of fresco which you will use and a detailed description with titles of each section of your design. We are quite aware that the general title is Social Security but for the purpose of identification in the progress of the work we wish sub-titles for each section together with explanatory data. You will be interested I am sure in the report of the jury on your designs: "The elements that finally weighed in favor of #247 were as follows: Indications that the artist drew from life, not relying on his or her supreme knowledge of design. There is a variety in the tempo and texture. The pattern advances and recedes, changing its beat, the crowded parts always finding relief (this element we found lacking in most other entries): the color is sombre, but good, and in keeping with the meaning of the subject theme, and it is well integrated in the design. There is continuity and the mural as a whole is well bound together. The enlarged detail promises a proper execution of this work and we feel well satisfied and confident in our unanimous choice."