Three artworks created by the president’s son, Hunter Biden, were put on display at a Manhattan art gallery on Thursday – priced at $85,000 each.
The pieces were part of a group exhibition called “Bridging the Abstract,” a show at Georges Bergès Gallery in SoHo featuring major abstract expressionists such as Elaine de Kooning and Helen Frankenthaler.
The exhibition is the latest in a series of art shows featuring Hunter Biden to have taken place since President Joe Biden came into office in 2021. Pieces priced up to $500,000 have raised eyebrows, and questions have emerged about the ethical considerations behind the sales.
Now, with Republicans assuming the majority in the House of Representatives, overall scrutiny focused on Hunter Biden’s business dealings – including his emerging career as an artist – has intensified since the previous Congress. But his gallerist, Georges Bergès, continues to stand by Biden despite continued investigations in Washington.
In an interview with CNN, Bergès acknowledged the complicated circumstances of representing Biden as an artist.
“It’s been challenges unique to him that no other galleries would have with an artist, so you almost have to be passionate about this to continue … really believe in him as an artist on many, many different levels,” he said.
Bergès, who called Hunter Biden one of his best friends, also refuted the suggestion that a Hunter Biden work would be used to buy political influence, saying, “You could buy a politician for a lot less than that.”
In 2021, the White House was made aware of an agreement between Bergès and Hunter Biden in an effort to address any ethics concerns.
Two sources familiar with the sales arrangement told CNN at the time that the purchaser of the artwork would be kept anonymous and neither Hunter Biden nor the public would have knowledge of who bid on or purchased the work. If there was any unusual behavior – such as the offer price being too high or a collector who doesn’t appear interested in the work – the gallery is expected to turn down the offer, the sources said. However, there was no clear enforcement mechanism for the standards agreed upon by the gallery and the prospective purchasers.
“There is no reason for Mr. Biden’s legal team to be notified of what is standard practice for galleries representing artists – selling their art,” a spokesperson for Hunter Biden’s legal team told CNN in a statement. “The gallery sets the pricing and handles all sales based upon the highest ethical standards of the industry.”
Hunter Biden’s art career has been a focus of a larger probe by Republicans on the House Oversight committee, which has sent letters requesting more information about the art sales.
Last month, the committee’s chairman, Kentucky Republican Rep. James Comer, repeated a request for more information about the anonymous art transactions and an interview with Bergès.
“Mr. Bergès has refused to provide any information regarding who is buying Mr. Biden’s art,” Comer wrote last month. “He has chosen to obstruct in an apparent effort to shield Mr. Biden and/or the purchasers’ of Mr. Biden’s art from congressional oversight.”
It’s still not clear how many of Biden’s pieces have sold, who they’ve been sold to, or how much they’ve sold for.
Discussing the objectivity of the pricing of Biden’s artwork, Bergès told CNN, “I mean, we’re in an industry that taped a banana to a wall and sold it for $100,000. So, when you talk about rational – the art world, you really don’t know the art world.”
“But ultimately, it’s the free market.”
This story has been updated with additional information.