legory was challenged by newer tendencies in American mural painting after the turn of the century. Artists and their patrons tired of what Francis Davis Millet, one of the leading muralists, called "'the customary representations, such as a group of young women in their nighties presenting a pianola to the city of New York.'" 15 They turned instead to a documentary mode of mural painting. 16 This echoed the naturalistic spirit of the mural by La Farge at Bowdoin. La Farge, who never let go of the natural, thus seems in some ways to represent both the preamble to and the aftermath of the American Renaissance commitment to academic allegory.
The stylistically varied and complex murals of the Walker Art Building, designed for a quintessential monument of American Renaissance taste in architecture, and preserved in that site, newly restored, are a very special document and treasure of late nineteenth-century style and cultural aspiration.