Graves, Rauschenberg, Rosenquist  and Turrell

 by Donald Saff

Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Art, University of  South Florida

Nancy Graves,  "Unending Revolution of Venus, Plants and Pendulum", 1991-2

Nancy Graves, "Screaming in Birds",  1992

Don Saff is primarily known for his work and collaboration with the leading artists of the late-twentieth century, including Robert Rauschenberg, Jim Dine, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, Nancy Graves, Philip Pearlstein, and James Turrell. Saff's prolific career is the subject of Marilyn S. Kushner's book, Donald Saff: Art in Collaboration (2010). Saff began his teaching career at Queens College as a lecturer in Art History, Design, and Drawing, from 1961 to 1964. In 1965, Saff was appointed as an associate professor in the visual arts department of the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida, and became professor and chairman of the visual arts department two years later. In 1971, Saff became the founding dean of the College of Fine Arts at U.S.F., and was awarded the rank of distinguished professor at the university in 1982. Saff was later named dean emeritus by U.S.F. in 1989, and distinguished professor emeritus in 1996. In 1999, Saff was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts at U.S.F. He was appointed the Director of Capital Projects of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, in 2001, followed by the appointment of Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings in 2002.

In 1968, Saff founded Graphicstudio at U.S.F. through funding by a seed grant from the Florida Arts Council and community supporters; the following year, Philip Pearlstein was the first artist invited to Graphicstudio to collaborate with Saff and his team. Saff became Founding Dean of the College of Fine Arts at U.S.F. in 1971. Under Saff's directorship, Graphicstudio collaborated with artists such as James Rosenquist, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Shusaku Arakawa, Jim Dine, Lee Friedlander, Nancy Graves, Ed Ruscha, and Roy Lichtenstein. The collection of Graphicstudio is archived in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. After Saff retired from U.S.F., he continued to collaborate with these artists, as well as James Turrell, at Saff Tech Arts in Oxford, Maryland, which was established in 1991.

In recent years, Saff has continued to lecture and write on art and the history and mechanics of nineteenth-century clocks; in particular, the work of Charles Fasoldt, in addition to the development of time distribution from the Harvard College Observatory, and the horological innovations of Richard F. Bond. He has lectured on Fasoldt for the Antiquarian Horological Association in Cincinnati, OH (2001), the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors in Pittsburgh, PA, and Anheim, CA (2003), and at the 26th Annual Ward Francillon Time Symposium in Houston, TX (2004), among other venues. For the past three years, Saff has been working with the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, collaborating with Jonathan Betts and Rory McEvoy, on the trials of Burgess Clock B.