Danielle Abrams has always wondered what happened to her great-aunt Alizee, a painter who disappeared in 1940. Alizee worked for the WPA and was friends with the famous artists Mark Rothko, Lee Krasner, and Jackson Pollock. While working at Christie's one day, Danielle finds three canvases that she believes belong to Alizee on the backs of several artworks. This discovery leads Danielle on a journey to find what happened to Alizee. Interspersed with Danielle's story is that of Alizee's, starting in 1939. Alizee is living in New York and is desperate to get her family out of France before they come to harm, since they are Jewish. However, some in the U.S. government are trying to keep the Jews fleeing from Europe out of the country. What can Alizee do to help her family? The Muralist is an interesting story providing insight into the beginnings of the Abstract Expression movement and the plight of the people trying to survive Hitler's persecution.