Hunter Biden’s paintings are being sold for as much as $500,000 each; his art dealer has said that he would adhere to ethical rules established by the Biden administration.
For six years, the Gallery of Georges Bergès has stood on a fashionable stretch of SoHo, a relative unknown in a New York art market. This summer, though, it suddenly became one of the most famous galleries in the country, owing to its intentions to sell works to the art world: a budding artist who is the son of the US president.
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The gallery intends to auction 15 paintings by Hunter Biden for up to $500,000 each. The prices — which are exorbitant for a debut artist — have prompted concerns in Washington that the paintings may draw purchasers looking to curry favour with the Biden White House.
As a result, the administration assisted in the development of a set of ethical rules requiring the gallery to keep the buyer’s name and other facts of the transaction confidential from both the administration and the artist.
Even though the art industry is notorious for its opacity and lack of openness, there are still concerns about how the arrangement will work in reality.
Mr. Bergès said that he believes the restrictions would function “just well” and that the identity of purchasers can be maintained despite the fact that Hunter Biden intends to attend the opening of his exhibition next month in a Los Angeles’s private studio and later in October at New York’s Bergès Gallery.
Mr Berges said that artists must attend their own openings and both will be ‘by invitation only’ and restricted to friends and family. He further said that there won’t be any discussion of price or sales; these will be handled at other times by the gallery.
Mr. Bergès said that he was drawn to Mr. Biden’s work because of its mastery of colour and shape, as well as its sincerity. He noted that Mr. Biden’s battles with drug addiction are evident in his work, and that he recognised a lot of the good characteristics that have characterised his life in his art.
Mr. Bergès’ stated price range for Mr. Biden’s works — between 75,000 US dollars for the works which are on the paper and up to 500,000 US dollars for large-scale pieces — is expensive for a new artist.
A New York Gallerist, Cristin Tierney, says that “it raises eyebrows”, He said that he has musicians with very genuine careers that may not sell that much money collectively over a ten-year period.”
Typically, seasoned collectors seek for works by artists evaluated by more established museums, galleries, or the marketplace. Additionally, investors choose sculptures or paintings that are expected to increase in value over time.
Numerous prominent people — including former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Winston Churchill, and George W. Bush, as well as Hollywood stars Anthony Hopkins, Jim Carrey, and Sylvester Stallone — have dabbled with painting, but the art community seldom takes their work seriously.
When Mr. Bergès was questioned about the pricing, he said that he was guided by his expertise.
Mr. Biden recently said on the Nota Bene that he had no involvement in setting the pricing and had no financial aspirations, dismissing critics with a salty tone. “I’d be surprised if my work sold for $10,” he added, emphasising that pricing is “totally subjective.”
Hunter Biden‘s attempts to establish a private career have already drawn criticism, particularly from his father’s political adversaries. Former President Donald J. Trump’s request for international assistance in investigating Hunter Biden’s involvement with the Ukrainian gas firm Burisma triggered Mr. Trump’s first impeachment.
Some opponents said that there is still an impression that he is financially benefiting from his relationship with the president, and argued that the White House should do more, particularly given its pledge to establish a far higher standard for ethics after the Trump years.
However, as per the White House, erecting a wall of obscurity between the president and his son’s art career would guarantee that collectors are not purchasing influence in addition to art.
Mr. Bergès said that purchaser secrecy is customary and that artists never learn who the real purchaser of their work is.
However, artists are usually informed of and they may have a say in the locations of their work.
The administration has said that it is convinced that the rules, which were developed in collaboration with the White House Counsel’s Office, would prohibit anyone from using a purchase of Hunter Biden’s work as evidence of government connections. Officials would not be allowed to deal with a buyer who disclosed details about a transaction, according to a source familiar with the proposal.
Mr. Bergès said that he met Hunter about 2 years ago via a common collector acquaintance; he did not comment on whether any of Mr. Biden’s work had yet sold.
Mr. Bergès opened his gallery in 2015 in SoHo, having previously worked as a dealer. He also has a location in Berlin and plans to expand to Mexico City and Mexico City.
Mr. Bergès has come under fire from those outside the art industry after the Biden sale. Fox News aired a storey on his China aspirations. His exhibit was damaged when a graffiti artist and documentary filmmaker reversed the word “Daddy” on a gallery wall.
According to CBS News, Mr. Bergès was arrested in 1998 in California while still a student on accusations of assault with a dangerous weapon and “terrorist threats,” citing police documents from the Police Department of Santa Cruz. Mr. Bergès said via a spokesperson that the most serious allegations against him were dropped and that he ultimately pleaded not guilty to a minor threat charge stemming from a disagreement with a male roommate. According to CBS, he filed for personal bankruptcy a few months after his incarceration.
When Mr. Bergès was questioned about these occurrences, he said, “I was a child; we all make errors.” Hopefully, we will learn from them and improve in the future. That is just what I did.”
Mr. Bergès was sued in 2016 in federal court in New York for breach of contract and fraud by an artist who allegedly invested 500,000 US Dollars in the gallery. Mr. Bergès countersued for $2.9 million, alleging slander and violation of fiduciary responsibility, among other reasons, according to his spokesperson. In 2018, the lawsuit was resolved.
Mr. Berges said that people disagree, as people do and it is worth noting that this is the first dispute that has resulted in a lawsuit in his whole career, which is very exceptional in his field when compared to his peers.
According to the Bergès Gallery’s website, Mr Biden’s paintings vary from mixed to photographic media to abstract pieces on metal, wood, yupo paper, and canvas. He uses oil, acrylic and pen to create one-of-a-kind experiences that have become his trademark.
Mr. Bergès expressed his admiration for Mr. Biden’s ability to work in a variety of media. “Hunter approaches his work boldly, and it’s hard to blame him given what he’s been through and survived,” he said.
However, several art experts stated that Mr. Biden’s ability is still developing. “He seems to be absorbing the technical skills taught by some artists,” Ms. Tierney observed, “but has yet to develop a distinctive voice.”
Hunter Biden’s biography on the gallery’s website identifies him as an advocate by profession who now has dedicated his life to the creative arts.” It has no reference to his father.