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Academy of Art University Students and Faculty Chosen to Create New Maltese Falcon

When a replica of the Maltese Falcon was stolen from John’s Grill in San Francisco, owner John Konstin turned to Academy of Art University’s School of Fine Art Sculpture to create a new one. Instructor Peter Schiffrin and students Zach Roberts and Ah Young Jeon have spent the past month developing a replica of the famous movie icon. The bronze statue was revealed from its plaster mold at the Artworks Foundry for onlookers on November 1.

A replica of the Maltese Falcon had inhabited a second-floor display case at John’s Grill for many years. The restaurant is the legendary home of all things related to the falcon and its detective, Sam Spade. A single sentence in the classic crime novel, The Maltese Falcon, reads, “Sam Spade went to John's Grill, asked the waiter to hurry his order of chops, baked potato, sliced tomatoes and was smoking a cigarette with his coffee when..."

Konstin offered a reward of $25,000, but when the falcon failed to turn up, he decided to commission a new statue. The new bronze falcon, weighing 150 pounds, is a third larger than the previous bird. The new model also has more detail and fiercer eyes.

“The movie falcon is droopy, saggy and pudgy,” said Schiffrin to the San Francisco Chronicle. “This one is more anatomically correct.

Students Jeon and Roberts watched the movie while sculpting, to get an idea of how the bird is remembered by fans.

“We weren’t watching the movie for the story,” said Roberts to the San Francisco Chronicle. “ We were looking at the bird.”

The official unveiling of the bird will take place November 16 at an invitation-only luncheon. The replacement will be unveiled around the same time as the 100th anniversary for John’s Grill.


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