Hunter Biden, the eldest son of the U.S. President, has reportedly earned a minimum of $1.3 million from the sale of his beginner’s artwork, one of the buyers being Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali, a Democratic donor, and appointee to a significant commission by the President himself, according to a Monday report.
Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali, an investor in Los Angeles real estate and philanthropist, purchased one of Hunter’s art pieces, as reported by Business Insider and backed by sales records from Hunter’s art dealer, Manhattan’s Georges Bergès Gallery.
President Biden had appointed Naftali to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad in July 2022, approximately eight months after Hunter’s debut art exhibition in Hollywood. The timeline of her art purchase and the price paid remains undisclosed.
A Biden administration representative informed the press that Nancy Pelosi, former House Speaker, recommended Naftali for her preservation board position, denying any art deal involvement.
Business Insider highlighted that the most significant portion of Hunter’s art sales has been to a single, unidentified buyer who acquired 11 artworks totaling $875,000. Among Hunter’s art patrons is Kevin Morris, also known as Hunter’s “sugar brother,” a well-off lawyer who reportedly lent him around $2 million for back tax payment. It is not confirmed whether Morris was the primary buyer.
Georges Bergès Gallery has declined to provide the list of art buyers to the House Oversight Committee, raising further intrigue. According to previous reports from The Post, Hunter sold five prints at his Hollywood show for $75,000 each, totaling $375,000.
The art exhibition sparked ethical issues since Eric Garcetti, President Biden’s nominee for US ambassador to India, attended the show despite backlash from fellow Democrats and criticism over sexual allegations against one of his aides. The Senate eventually confirmed Garcetti in March, following the White House’s support.
House Republicans are investigating Hunter Biden’s past international business dealings, particularly with China and Ukraine, where his father held influence as Vice President. They are concerned about potential influence-peddling and money laundering through Hunter’s art career.
Records show that Joe Biden met with Hunter’s business associates from China, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine before his presidency and vice presidency. In response to these concerns, the White House announced in 2021 that Hunter Biden’s art sales would remain “anonymous” to prevent potential corruption.
However, ethics experts have questioned this anonymity. President George W. Bush’s chief ethics lawyer Richard Painter argued that “buyers buy artwork to hang on the wall, not put in a closet,” implying that true anonymity is hard to sustain.