At least five reproductions of Hunter Biden’s artwork have garnered $75,000 each as lawyers vet people who plan to attend his spring gallery show in New York City, The New York Post reported.
The Georges Berges Gallery sold the prints before the Oct. 1 opening of a “pop-up” exhibition in Los Angeles, a source told the Post on Thursday.
It was unclear who bought the reproductions or if any more were sold after the L.A. event began.
An original piece of art by President Joe Biden’s son goes for a top price of $500,000, the Post said.
“Most of those allowed to buy works are long-term, private collectors with the gallery, people that Berges knows personally” the source told the Post.
The younger Biden’s recent schmoozing with attendees at his debut exhibition caught the attention of Richard Painter, who was President George W. Bush’s chief ethics lawyer.
Painter said it was clear that a White House attempt to prevent influence-peddling by maintaining anonymity for the buyers won’t work, as the L.A. opening “just illustrates how this veil-of-secrecy idea is not happening.”
“It shows the deal’s not going to be secret,” Painter told the Post. “I think the White House needs to go to Plan B.”
Painter said the best way to prevent anyone from gaining leverage over the White House by paying the “crazy prices” for Hunter Biden’s artwork would be not to sell it until after Joe Biden leaves office.
Otherwise, Painter said, there should be “full transparency” of the buyers’ identities, and President Biden and his appointees should all sign “recusal” pledges “to ensure these people can’t get access to the White House.”
“We did that in the Bush White House,” Painter told the Post. “If people tried to contact the government who were business partners of the Bushes, we made sure they contacted people who weren’t political appointees.”
Currently a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, Painter said “buyers buy artwork to hang on the wall, not put in a closet.”
“They tend to be rich people, and rich people come to their houses and it tends to get around,” he said. “Everyone’s going to be talking about it and everyone’s going to know.”
The Post source said stringent screening measures have been put in place for the New York City show, which originally has been scheduled to open this month.
“It is a whole process to get in to see the Biden show,” the source said. “You have to call the gallery in Soho, and they are vetting people carefully.
“They laid down rules that thorough vetting of any collector has to be done by a team of lawyers.”
The Post said it remained unclear why the legal vetting, who hired the lawyers, and the reason for the delayed opening.
The L.A. pop-up show continues through November.