In 1940, American painter Alizee Benoit vanishes in New York City amid personal and political turmoil. No one knows what happened to her. Not her Jewish family living in German-occupied France. Not her artistic patron and political compatriot, Eleanor Roosevelt. Not her close-knit group of friends, including Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner. And, some seventy years later, not her great-niece, Danielle Abrams, who while working at Christie’s auction house uncovers enigmatic paintings hidden behind recently found works by those now-famous Abstract Expressionist artists. Do they hold answers to the questions surrounding her missing aunt?
Entwining the lives of both historical and fictional characters, and moving between the past and the present, The Muralist plunges readers into the divisiveness of prewar politics and the largely forgotten plight of European refugees refused entrance to the United States. It captures both the inner workings of today’s art world and the beginnings of the vibrant school of Abstract Expressionism, bringing to life two unforgettable women and forcing us to ask timeless, provocative questions: What happens when luminous talent collides with inexorable historical forces? Does great art have the power to change the world? And to what lengths should a person go to thwart evil?
“B.A. Shapiro once again pens the art world into vivid, sensual life. . . . An intriguing story masterfully imagined about art, war, family, truth, and freedom.” —Lisa Genova, New York Times–bestselling author of Love, Anthony