Search, 1983

John Safer (American, 1922-2018)
John Safer, Search, 1983 — Mellon Courtyard

John Safer, Search, 1983, bronze. Gift of John Safer (JD' 49), 1984, HBS Art and Artifacts Collection, 1984.9.

John Safer, Search, 1983, bronze. Gift of John Safer (JD' 49), 1984, HBS Art and Artifacts Collection, 1984.9.

John Safer (Harvard JD’49) has had a varied career as a real estate developer, lawyer, and financier, and has served as chairman of the board of the District of Columbia National Bank. In 1965, he began making sculptures, many of them from Lucite. Safer also works in bronze and steel, creating monumental public works and commissions. In 1979, he made a bronze sculpture for Harvard Law School titled Judgment, which led to the commission for HBS. Search was designed in 1983, cast in bronze by the Tallix foundry in New York, and installed at HBS in 1984. Walter J. Boyne, former director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has described how the work was “inspired by [Safer’s] analysis of the visual symbols of the business school. He began by rejecting the specific symbols of business and instead sought to identify and define for himself the essence of Harvard.” The twenty-foot-high bronze is about the search for knowledge, and represents, in Safer’s words, “A question to which we have not yet found an answer.” Its curved form reaches up toward the sky, symbolizing that there is always more to discover. Safer’s work can be found in private and public collections around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution's Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum.