Owner of gas station's Banksy mural reveals his tale

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A former gas station owner who is selling a Banksy mural in Los Angeles has decided to come forward.

Eytan Rosenberg, 44, is putting the mural, "Flower Girl," up for auction in December, the first Banksy street art to be sold in the United States. The high estimate is $300,000.

In 2008, Mr. Rosenberg said, he was approached by a regular customer, who asked permission to have a friend paint on the gas station's exterior walls.

"He didn't say Banksy," Mr. Rosenberg said in a phone interview. Banksy, that pseudonymous British artist, was just gaining international acclaim.

The mural, which depicts a girl peering up at a security camera sprouting out of a flower stalk, was a source of fascination, along with a similar piece on a wall at an adjoining carwash. "Garden Girl" depicts a girl with a watering can and a stem sprouting an antenna. That piece remains.

Mr. Rosenberg and his family decided to sell the business several years ago; a Chevron franchisee bought it in 2012.

"I said, 'I'll sell you the location, but I'm going to take the Banksy,' " Mr. Rosenberg recalled. So he spent about $80,000 to lift "Flower Girl" from the station and repair the wall. "It was almost like a family heirloom at that point," he said.

He'll split the proceeds with his sister. "This thing I see as a gift from God, or whatever higher power," he said. "I plan to use the proceeds that I have to do other beneficial things."

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