- Hunter Biden’s art will go on sale in New York this fall with works costing up to $500,000.
- The White House, fearing ethical issues, has reached an agreement with the gallery, the Washington Post reported.
- The identity of bidders will be kept secret and suspicious bids will be ignored, The Post said.
The White House has brokered a deal to shield itself from accusations of ethical disputes in the upcoming sale of Hunter Biden’s artwork, according to the Washington Post.
Hunter Biden, the 51-year-old second son of President Joe Biden, will have his art exhibited and auctioned at Georges Bergès Gallery in New York this fall.
Bergès, who represents Hunter Biden, told Art News last month that asking prices will range from $75,000 to $500,000.
Washington Post National Correspondent Annie Gowen posted an image on Twitter showing a coin with an asking price of $500,000.
—Annie Gowen (@anniegowen) July 8, 2021
Other images are displayed on Biden’s artist page on the Georges Bergès gallery website.
According to The Post, White House officials feared the sales would raise ethical issues for Biden and were taking steps to mitigate the risks.
The outlet said officials had quietly asked Bergès to reject any suspicious offers or ones that far exceed asking prices.
The Post said the identities of the bidders would also remain secret, and if a buyer’s identity were to become public, the White House could warn officials not to engage with the person at all to avoid any claims of preferential treatment.
Biden has previously pledged to maintain “an absolute wall” between the US government and his family’s business interests, and said no family member would get an official role.
Insider has reached out to the White House for comment.
Despite the measures, critics of the arrangement say the sale is still a problem.
“This is all a very bad idea,” Richard Painter, President George W. Bush’s chief ethics counsel, told The Post.
“The first 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. “
Walter Shaub, who headed the Office of Government Ethics from 2013 to 2017, told the Post, “Because we don’t know who is paying for this art and we don’t know for sure that [Hunter Biden] knows, we have no way of controlling whether people buy into the White House.”
Hunter Biden told Art News last month that in his art he hopes to convey “universal truth.”
“The universal truth is that everything is connected and there is something that goes far beyond our five senses and connects us all,” he said.
“I don’t paint from emotion or feeling, both of which I think are very fleeting.”
According to the George Bèrges gallery, Hunter Biden “was a lifelong artist who dedicated his artistic career to both the written and the visual arts”.
“Biden’s paintings range from photographic mix-media to abstract works on canvas, yupo paper, wood, and metal.”