Eytan Rosenberg was the anonymous gas station operator whose garage at Beverly and La Brea "were graced with a Banksy mural." He sold the business but took the Banksy with him and now plans to put up for auction. "In 2008, he was approached by a regular customer, Thierry Guetta, better known as the street artist Mr. Brainwash, who asked permission for a friend to paint on the walls" reports the NY Times Arts Beat.
“He didn’t say Banksy,” Mr. Rosenberg said in a phone interview late on Thursday afternoon. “He wasn’t trying to sell me on it and he didn’t try to hype it at all.”
He wouldn’t have known who Banksy was, anyway; the pseudonymous British artist was just gaining international acclaim. Still, he gave his permission for the painting to happen. It was stealthy.
“I think he came at 4 a.m.,” Mr. Rosenberg recalled. He checked his security feed for evidence of the elusive artist after seeing the piece the next day. “I went right to my cameras, and they were completely blank,” he said. His tech specialists were stumped: another Banksy mystery.
Once Banksy put up his stencils, “there was never any mention of what would happen subsequently” to them, said Michael Doyle, the consignment director at Julien’s Auctions, which is handling the sale of “Flower Girl.” “I’m assuming that was not really one of Banksy’s concerns at the time.” (A spokesperson for Banksy did not comment.)
After Josh Rosenberg died in 2009, the family sold the business to a Chevron franchisee in 2012. The piece stayed with the family by spending $80,000 to remove “Flower Girl” and repair the wall. “It was almost like a family heirloom at that point,” he told the NY Times.
It's the first time a Banksy Mural is up for auction in the U.S. Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien's Auctions, said "Flower Girl" will be on the block December 5. It's expected to fetch $150,000 and $300,000, reported Rueters.
Owner Who Plans to Sell a Banksy Mural Steps Forward. NYT [view]
MORE: When Banksy's Flower Girl was a simple Hollywood wallflower via LAT [view]
Pictured: Banksy's 'Flower Girl" AFP Photo I Justin Tallis