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Hunter Biden's Art Buyers Revealed - And There's 1 Name That Should Raise Eyebrows

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Remember how Hunter Biden was supposed to be shielded from knowing the identity of the people who bought his finger-paintings at exorbitant prices in order to create a firewall to protect against influence-peddling? Yeah, according to an entirely unsurprising media report that emerged Monday, forget about all of that.

According to Insider, two of Hunter Biden’s “friends” (Insider’s quotation marks, although huge air-quotes should be put around the word “friends” any time it’s used in regard to the first son) were also — quelle surprise! — buyers of his juvenile attempts at art, and one of those buyers received an appointment to a position by his father, President Joe Biden, eight months after Hunter’s first art exhibition.

Recall, as Insider’s Mattathias Schwartz did, that we were told in very clear language that “Hunter Biden’s team had a process for carefully vetting buyers, and that their identities were known only to the gallery, and not to Hunter Biden himself” and that the messaging from the Biden camp “seemed to suggest that Hunter Biden’s art patrons came from a rarified universe of collectors who had nothing to do with the hurly burly of politics.”

“Neither of those things has turned out to be the case,” Schwartz reported. “Hunter Biden did in fact learn the identity of two buyers, according to three people directly familiar with Hunter Biden’s own account of his art career. And one of those buyers is indeed someone who got a favor from the Biden White House. The timing of their purchase, however, is unknown.”

Neither the Biden White House nor Hunter Biden’s legal counsel wanted to answer whether Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali, a Los Angeles-based real estate investor and philanthropist, purchased Hunter’s doodles before or after her July 2022 appointment to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad.

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The position is oft-filled by prominent campaign donors, of which Hirsch Naftali certainly is one; she’s given $13,414 to the Biden campaign and $29,700 to the Democratic National Campaign Committee this year alone and hosted a 2022 fundraiser for Vice President Kamala Harris.

Nor did anyone involved want to answer whether Hunter weighed in on behalf of Hirsh Naftali to his dad before her appointment was made.

The appointment was key because Hunter’s email suggests he had sway over one of the post’s previous appointees. Eric Schwerin, one of his former business associates, was appointed by former President Barack Obama to the commission, which aims to preserve U.S.-linked historical sites in Europe.

When one of Hunter’s cousins asked him about securing a post on the commission for his mother, Hunter responded in an email that “Eric asked me for one of these the day after the election in 2008.” It may have taken him seven years, but he got it. Allegedly. Cough cough.

Do you think the Biden family is corrupt?

As for Hirsh Naftali and a second buyer, it’s unclear when they purchased the art or how Hunter found out; his lawyer insisted it’s because they were pals, although this should probably be taken with a grain of salt (which, we swear, that’s all the white crystalline substance is — really! No need to have it tested).

“The gallery sets the pricing and handles all sales based on the highest ethical standards of the industry, and does not disclose the names of any purchasers to Mr. Biden,” Hunter lawyer Abbe Lowell said in an email.

The White House had a similar non-denial denial through spokesman Ian Sams. “Hunter Biden is a private citizen who is entitled to have his own career as an artist,” he said. “We are not involved in his art sales, and any buyers of his art are not disclosed to the White House.”

Particularly not the individual who thought it was worth his or her own time to purchase 11 (that’s one-one) of Hunter’s scribblings for a cool $875,000; Insider couldn’t ascertain the buyer’s identity from internal documents obtained from Hunter’s gallery, only that this purchaser constituted the majority of the $1.3 million that sales of Hunter’s art generated via gallerist Georges Bergès.

Bergès wasn’t talking, either. “Names of buyers are strictly confidential,” he wrote in an email. “Any attempt to get them is illegal and will be reported to the proper authorities.” (It’s also unclear whether “the proper authorities” is a classier, art-world way of saying “the big guy,” but one can make his or her own assumptions.)

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Insider managed to find a professional ethicist who gave the outlet a quote aside from just pure laughter. Bruce Weinstein said it was important to consider the timing of the appointment: “If it was done after her appointment, and she likes the painting, it’s less of an issue,” he said. “It’s more of an issue if she’s deciding to buy it beforehand. Then it might be perceived as a quid pro quo.”

Weinstein also went on to note that “if you really wanted to choose the most ethically appropriate course of action, that would not involve any conflict of interest, real or perceived, then you don’t buy the painting.”

And, if you “like” Hunter Biden’s paintings, I have a life hack for you: Go to any iPhone wallpaper site and click on the “abstract” section. Download your favorite middling, talent-free ink-blot doodle from there. Take it to a local print shop. Get it framed.

If you want to keep people from finding out that it’s not an original, keep it roped off at your house and say that it’s a Hunter Biden original and you can’t risk people getting too close to it (particularly if they happen to be IRS agents who you think might turn whistleblower).

Voila. Several hundred thousand dollars saved.

Of course, I seriously doubt a soul actually “likes” Hunter Biden’s paintings, the same way I doubt that CEFC or Burisma “liked” his expertise (or near total lack thereof) in the international energy sector.

What they liked is the five letters in Hunter’s last name and one number in his iPhone contacts — probably filed under “Dad,” or maybe “The Big Guy” if he’s gotten used to calling his father what his “friends” seem to.

Even if Hirsh Naftali bought the paintings after her appointment, that’s still not evidence that some form of quid pro quo — spoken or unspoken — didn’t exist, nor is it proof that the carefully worded non-denial denials from both the White House and team Hunter are worth any more than the paper they’re printed on.

That’s because everyone knew his paintings were — unless viewed as a lower-key way to barter influence than Hunter’s previous endeavors — similarly worthless, too.

Nobody was particularly surprised when it turned out the artist who was supposed to be protected by a firewall of secrecy just happened to find out that one of his “friends” purchased his scrawling. It always felt like a matter of when and who, not if.

Now that we know, we go through the usual dance with the Biden family: carefully worded denials, more slow-walked reporting that casts doubt on those, more carefully worded statements that deny less, then reporting that proves those statements to be equally flimsy, then a shrug by the president and the first son’s counsel.

What are you going to do about it, America? It’s not like you really did anything about Burisma, or CEFC, or Hunter’s other dalliances with corporate entities that just happened to get then-Sen. Joe Biden’s ear back when he was in the upper chamber. Those with longer memories might recall that it was Hunter’s job with a Delaware credit card company — and Joe subsequently shepherding legislation through that made it much more difficult to discharge credit card debt via bankruptcy — that helped earn him the sobriquet “The Senator from MBNA.”

We’re well past the halfway point of the Biden presidency and the mainstream media is just getting around to casually asking whether there’s anything to the Burisma and CEFC allegations, thanks to two IRS whistleblowers who have made the family’s history of influence-peddling too plainly apparent for even them to ignore.

How long, one wonders, before they start asking serious questions about how many air-quotes “friends” bought Hunter Biden’s air-quotes “art?”

They’re already a few years and a sweetheart tax-charge plea-bargain too late, but better late than never.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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