Among the football and festivities this past Homecoming Weekend at UNH, a little known auction was going on just off campus. Hundreds of artworks, both paintings and sculptures by former UNH art professor John W. Hatch (1919-98) were being sold by auction at the Fellowship Room at the Community Church of Durham.
Hatch was an artist, draftsman, muralist and teacher whose career lasted more than 50 years. As an artist he explored the people and landscapes around him and taught UNH students for 36 years.
After graduating from Massachusetts College of Arts in 1941, Hatch spent four years fighting in World War II. When he returned he studied at the Yale University of Fine Arts, where he earned a B.A. and M.F.A. in painting and art history.
Hatch’s collection of work has been in the possession of his family since his death. This past Saturday, Oct. 1, however, Hatch’s artwork was offered for sale for the first time. Among the 245 works there was: figure studies and portraits, mural studies, abstract works and landscapes. The auction showed all his works through various genres.
The range of prices for the artwork kept everyone from all walks of life included. Some of the art would start as low as $40, while other prices could be bought for $6,000.
Before the auction was set to begin at noon, former UNH student Sam Cady gave a short lecture about Hatch. “He was a wonderful mixture of jokester and sage,” Cady said. “A man who loved people and loved teaching. Many artists teach by necessity, and resent what they see as a drain on their creative energies. But John found great fulfillment as both an artist and a teacher.”
What Cady said about Hatch seems true in his paintings. Most of Hatch’s artwork seemed to be of portraits of other humans. They are neither overtly sad nor happy, but just are pondering, unsure. Hatch seemed to enjoy capturing the complexity of human nature.
If you missed out on Saturday’s auction, it’s not too late to purchase a piece of Hatch’s artwork. You can partake in online bidding at mcinnisauctions.com, where there is plenty of artwork left to enjoy.