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November 14, 1940

Dear Mr. Bruce:

The commission of Fine Arts, at their meeting on November 8, 1940, considered the designs you submitted for four mural paintings by Ben Shah, to be located in the main corridor at the entrance to the auditorium of the Social Security Building. The designs were brought to the attention of Mr. Savage, painter member of the Commission, who reports as follows:

“The studies for paintings to be placed in the entrance of the Social Security Building are the preliminary submissions, subject, we are informed, to conferences on subject matter and subsequent restudies. At present the paintings are vital to the place and purpose and refreshingly unacademic, with an adequate technique productive of good pattern. 

“The scale of the larger figures is too big. As they are they will dwarf the interior and unscale the walls. My feeling as to this has been confirmed after an inspection of the location for these paintings; in fact, the largest figure should be under life size.

“As the designs are to be considerably restudied, it should be said that in the end the study from the standpoint of pattern should be carried considerably further to realize the opportunities the painter has opened up.

“It should be noted by the artist that on the east wall of the corridor his paintings will be bordered by light stone, whereas on the west wall the marble is verde antique. Therefore to continue in the murals the dark general value of the verde antique through the hallway beyond the point where the verde antique ends would throw the light marble partitions into outstanding disharmony or disassociation. The murals should be in value harmony with the lighter marble."

The Commission of Fine Arts concur in the criticisms as above stated and will be pleased to give the designs further attention after they are revised by the artist.

For the Commission of Fine Arts:

Sincerely yours,
[[strikethrough]] S [[/strikethrough]] Gilmore D. Clarke