Since Hunter Biden’s international business dealings came under scrutiny in the runup to the 2020 presidential election, he has taken a noticeably lower profile, at least as to his longstanding foreign connections.
Hunter has turned to his artistic talent to make a living as far as the public is concerned. Although his artwork has never been shown before this year, it’s expected that his paintings will be offered at auction beginning prices from $75,000 to $500,000 each.
Art sales, particularly auctions, have been a popular method of bribing public officials and globally laundering money for years. The industry has allowed cash sales while guaranteeing anonymity, which opens up huge holes in public accountability.
FOX Business reported in June that Hunter’s art dealer intended to maintain the privacy of any purchasers of his art “to protect the privacy of the collector.” The dealer stated that anonymity is typical for sales within galleries and at auction houses.
While nothing is stopping Hunter or the White House from disclosing the details of his artwork sales to the public, the administration is working on a deal with Hunter’s dealer that would shield the details of those transactions, including the identity of purchasers. The dealer has reportedly stated that he would “reject any offer that he deems suspicious or that comes in over the asking price.” So far, no details have been shared as to what would constitute a “suspicious” offer.
The Office of Government Ethics chief under the Obama administration, Walter Shaub, told CNN on July 9 that the proposed arrangement is “the perfect mechanism for funneling bribes” to the president.
“The idea that they’re going to flag any overly priced offers. Well, this is an art that hasn’t even been juried into a community art sale. How are they going to decide what’s unreasonable when they’ve already priced it in the range of $75,000 to $500,000 for a first outing? This is just preposterous and very disappointing,” Shaub added.
One art critic has described the younger Biden’s art as “somewhere between a screen saver and if you just Googled ‘midcentury abstraction’ and mashed up whatever came up.”
Hunter told Artnet in June, “I don’t paint from emotion or feeling, which I think are both very ephemeral. For me, painting is much more about kind of trying to bring forth what is, I think, the universal truth.”