Ballator, "Contemporary Justice and Man," Department of Justice - Washington DCDepartment of Justice, John Ballator, "Contemporary Justice and Man," 1937, tempera
The New Deal is responsible for a magnificent array of artworks that embellish the Department of Justice building. The Treasury Section of Fine Arts commissioned artists to create 68 murals between 1936 and 1941 for $68,000, or one percent of the building cost. The building’s murals depict scenes of daily life from American history and allegories on the role of justice in American society.
John Ballator created a tempera on canvas mural, “Contemporary Justice and Man,” for the Justice Department in 1936-37.
“The artist’s composition suggests an ascending scale of values, with an ideally planned community (Greenbelt, Maryland) at the top. While some in the U.S. Treasury’s Section of Painting and Sculpture were critical of the ‘wooden’ figures in the lower portion, Somerset Maugham, the English novelist and art critic, declared the mural to be the best of the artwork contained in the Justice and Post Office Buildings.” (DoJ 2009)
Ballator’s mural is located on the second floor lobby behind The Great Hall.
U.S. Department of Justice, The Robert F. Kennedy Building: Celebrating Art and Architecture on the 75th Anniversary, 1934-2009, pp. p 32.
Project originally submitted by Charles Swaney on March 14, 2014.
Additional contributions by Richard A Walker.
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