- A gallery owner selling Hunter Biden’s paintings estimates they could go from $75,000 to $500,000 each.
- The gallery owner will sell Hunter’s artwork without disclosing who buys them, even to Biden.
- The arrangement puts the White House in an ethical gray area, experts told The Washington Post.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A gallery owner who struck an arrangement to sell Hunter Biden’s paintings says the individual pieces of art could go for anywhere from $75,000 to $500,000 each, The Washington Post reports.
White House officials came to an unprecedented agreement with the gallery that allows Hunter, President Joe Biden’s eldest son, to earn a living from his art while not knowing who buys his paintings.
Hunter took up painting as a hobby during his recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and found refuge in art while he was at the center of the 2019 impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, he told The New York Times for an expansive 2020 feature on his art.
Under the terms of the arrangement, the gallery owner, Georges Bergès, will set the prices of the art himself, won’t disclose who bids on and purchases the paintings, and will reject offers that seem too high to just be for the art alone.
Still, ethics experts told The Post that the agreement falls into an ethical gray area because of the often-secretive nature of art purchases and how difficult it can be to trace who buys and sells expensive artwork. Importantly, they said, it doesn’t entirely preclude someone who wants to exert influence over the Biden White House from trying to do so via a painting.
Richard Painter, the former top White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, told The Post the whole thing is “a really bad idea.”
“The initial reaction a lot of people are going to have is that he’s capitalizing on being the son of a president and wants people to give him a lot of money. I mean, those are awfully high prices,” he said.
This is another ethical quandary the White House faces over Hunter’s business dealings and how they could influence the Biden administration. While no evidence emerged that Hunter’s work has unduly influenced his father, Hunter’s work for Ukrainian oil and gas company Burisma Holdings drew scrutiny and was at the center of Trump’s first impeachment.
The latest development also comes as Republicans are gearing up to launch congressional investigations into Hunter if they retake the House majority in 2022, with high-profile acrimonious public hearings and probes, Insider reported.