Raises red flag over potential for artwork purchases to be abused due to shady White House policy on sales
WASHINGTON—Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) wrote Georges Bergès—owner of Georges Bergès Gallery—requesting documents and information regarding the unprecedented prices the gallery set for selling Hunter Biden’s art. Given the history of foreign governments using high value art to evade U.S. sanctions, the unprecedented prices which Hunter Biden—a new, untrained, celebrity artist— is selling for, and the Biden family’s historic precedent of using proximity to political power for self-gain, Ranking Member Comer is demanding information and communications between the gallery and Hunter Biden, including the individuals who have purchased the art or indicated an interest in purchasing his art via attendance at his art shows.
“The president’s son selling artwork has generated numerous questions surrounding the ethics and propriety of such actions,” wrote Ranking Member Comer. “Though the White House has attempted to allay concerns about the appearance of selling access to the president by developing guidelines for your gallery, these guidelines actually create more obscurity for the buyers of Mr. Biden’s compositions, each of which—at their lowest prices—exceeds the median annual income for the American household . . . The prices your gallery has set for these pieces by a new, untrained, celebrity artist are unprecedented. One New York art adviser said such prices are ‘sort of insulting to the art ecosystem, as if anyone could do it.”
“It is the Oversight Committee’s responsibility to scrutinize Mr. Biden’s business activities because he chooses to conduct them in the most murky and corrupt corners of international affairs. Moreover, he has chosen—in the latest iteration of his career—to sell commodities of fluid and opaque value to anonymous benefactors,” wrote Ranking Member Comer.“Mr. Biden acknowledges it is ‘a hell of a lot easier to get noticed’ as an artist due to his family name. Given Mr. Biden’s connection to the White House, his network of foreign associates, your efforts to become the ‘lead guy in China’ for art, and history of foreign nations that have ‘used transactions involving high-value art to evade sanctions imposed on them by the United States,’ the extent and nature of your dealings with Mr. Biden must be subject to the same scrutiny.”
Ranking Member Comer is requesting all documents and communications between the gallery and Hunter Biden; all communications and documents between the gallery and the White House, including the ethics guidelines; all price setting documents and communications surrounding Hunter Biden’s art; all documents showing who purchased Hunter Biden’s art; and all documents showing who attended the opening of Hunter Biden’s art shows.
Republicans previously wrote the White House and National Archivist regarding several members of the Biden family, including Hunter Biden, potentially profiting off their proximity to the president. Neither the White House nor the National Archivist have responded to the request.
Read the full letter here.