What brought Hollywood to Monument Valley
Monument Valley, a year devoid of rain in 1934, was followed by another in 1936, during the Great Depression that dropped lamb prices and wool prices through the basement.
In desperation, Harry and his wife “Mike” got in their car in the summer of 1938 and drove to Hollywood. On the backseat was a binder of 8-by-10 photographs of Monument Valley by their friend, professional photographer Josef Muench.
Harry schemed to find the office of noted director John Ford, show him the pictures, and talk him into filming his next Western in Monument Valley.
As the story goes, Harry walked into the United Artists studios with the photos and his bedroll. When the receptionist, appropriately appalled, told him he certainly could not see Mr. Ford without an appointment, Harry said, fine, he’d wait and rolled out the bedroll.
Security was summoned, but before they arrived, the location manager for Ford’s new movie “Stagecoach” happened to walk through the office.
“Where exactly is this?” he asked, noticing the photos Harry had propped up on the couch, and the next thing Harry Goulding knew, he was pitching to Mr. Ford.
Within weeks, the entire cast and crew of “Stagecoach,” more than 100 people, found themselves living in a tent city outside the Gouldings’ front door. John Wayne, the film’s star, slept in a tent. Ford stayed in the Gouldings’ spare room.
Hundreds of Navajos were recruited as extras, getting $5 a day (and $8 on horseback). In addition, the resident medicine man, who proved uncanny at forecasting the weather, was hired.
Released to wide acclaim in 1939, “Stagecoach” made B-list actor John Wayne a significant star. But another star was born: Monument Valley.
Tackling 10′ of canvas for Monument Valley
When I first moved to Sedona, I had this 10′ wall art canvas painting with another image of Monument Valley. However, I wouldn’t say I liked it, so I painted over it, creating Monument Valley’s new contemporary southwest landscape painting. Because I had already painted this image, I was torn about what to paint. Should I do a Sedona Landscape Painting or another Monument Valley? Living here in Sedona, I thought I could reproduce some Sedona Art Prints if I did a Sedona landscape. However, I decided to create an entirely different Monument Valley, using oil and acrylics. Because of the size of this painting, it took me six months to complete. I had to build an easel large enough to hold this vast canvas painting in my garage because my studio wasn’t big enough. I created this southwest landscape using a pallet knife with gel medium and topped it with oil. This large wall art is 10′ wide and 36″ high.
When you go to Monument Valley
When you go, do a tour with Navajo Spirit tours, you’ll be glad you did. In addition, I’ve hiked this magical land, only to be moved by its beauty. Director John Ford used this location for several of his best-known films with John Wayne, and thus, in the words of critic Keith Phipps, “its five square miles have defined what decades of moviegoers think of when they imagine the American West.”This original 36” x 120″ x1.5″ canvas is available. In addition, of course, canvas giclee, metal prints, and tabletop photo plaques are available, such as canvas prints & paper prints.