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 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, OK, 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 brought with me a 10-foot wall art canvas painting that depicted Monument Valley. However, I was not entirely happy with it, so I decided to paint over it and create a new, contemporary southwest landscape painting of Monument Valley. As I had already painted this image, I was still deciding what to paint next. I considered creating a Sedona Landscape Painting or another Monument Valley painting. Being a resident of Sedona, I thought I could reproduce some Sedona Art Prints if I painted a Sedona landscape. However, I created an entirely new Monument Valley painting using oil and acrylics. Due to the size of the painting, it took me six months to complete. I had to build an easel large enough to hold the vast canvas painting in my garage because my studio wasn’t big enough. I used a pallet knife with gel medium to create this southwest landscape and topped it with oil. The final painting measures 10 feet in width and 36 inches in height and would make a beautiful addition to any wall art collection.
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.