Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF TOM AND RUTH JONES The evolution from aerospace to winemaking may not seem like a natural one. Yet for Thomas V. Jones, former Chairman and CEO of defense giant Northrop Corporation, the transition to vineyard life at his unique Bel-Air estate called upon the same bold thinking and creativity that had secured his status as an industry legend. For nearly 30 years, Jones built Northrop into a technological innovator that changed national defense strategies around the world. During the same time, he and his wife Ruth built reputations as gracious connoisseurs of fine art, wine, and the California landscape. Tom Jones was born in Pomona, California, in July 1920. After graduating magna cum laude from Stanford University, he began work as an engineer at Douglas Aircraft, already one of America's largest aerospace firms. During World War II, his engineering prowess led to better designs and more effective fighter planes. He developed a philosophy that would serve him throughout his career: employ groundbreaking technologies to create the best aircraft at an affordable cost. After the war, he spent several years in Brazil, where he advised the country's air ministry and established the Aeronautical Institute of Technology of Brazil. Jones soon moved on to the influential RAND Corporation, where his research facilitated the development of wide-body jet propelled aircraft, including Boeing's first commercial jetliner--the legendary 707. In 1953, Tom Jones joined Northrop Corporation as an assistant to the chief engineer. The company had been a major supplier during the war and continued to forge its reputation as an industry innovator. Jones became President of Northrop at age 39 and just two years later was featured on the cover of Time magazine as a "brilliant young star" in aerospace. Under Jones's direction, Northrop developed such aircraft as the T-38 Talon, F-5 Freedom Fighter, the F/A-18 Hornet, F-20 Tiger Shark, culminating with the revolutionary B-2 Stealth Bomber. Jones retired in 1989 and his honors for advances in aerospace include the Reed Aeronautics Award and the prestigious Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy. Jones became a member of the National Academy of Engineering, an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and was inducted into The National Aviation Hall of Fame. At his estate in the idyllic Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, Tom Jones's life as a winemaker appeared far removed from his time at one of the world's largest aerospace firms. Yet business travels to winemaking countries such as France and Italy nurtured what would become a lifelong passion. In 1959, Jones purchased his family's home and the property that would evolve into Moraga Vineyards. The house and surrounding acreage had originally been developed by Victor Fleming, the legendary director of, among many other classics, two films recognized among the top ten in motion picture history: Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. Fleming created a horse ranch that became a popular retreat for friends that included Hollywood stars Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and another legendary director, Howard Hawks. Tom and Ruth Jones were dedicated to maintaining the rural beauty of the property, which featured wild roses and hills reminiscent of the picturesque Tuscan countryside. Although Tom had considered purchasing a vineyard estate in Napa or Sonoma, he decided that there was "no place like home" in Bel-Air for his next creative challenge. Wild grapes had been noted in the Moraga Canyon by Spanish missionaries in the early 18th century, and Tom recognized the similarities in soil and precipitation to the Bordeaux region of France. Jones planted the first grapes in 1978 and, encouraged by their potential, purchased additional land eight years later to expand his vineyards. The first Moraga Red, a Cabernet and Merlot blend, was released commercially in 1992, and a Sauvignon Blanc followed in 2000. The nature of the Joneses' small vineyard ensured quality control and attention to detail at all levels of production. Moraga was the first bonded commercial winery in Los Angeles since the end of Prohibition. In 2005, he completed work on a state-of-the-art winery, thus establishing Moraga as a true estate wine in the Bordeaux tradition. Moraga Vineyards remains a testament to rural preservation and has become a critically acclaimed winemaking landmark in the heart of Los Angeles. From spearheading innovations in aircraft technology and manufacturing to producing two of the most sought-after wines in the world, Tom Jones's diverse life speaks to a thirst he and wife Ruth have shared for surrounding themselves with beauty in all forms. Their extraordinary art collection reflects a keen eye and a level of curatorial excellence developed over more than fifty years of following their creative passion. PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF TOM AND RUTH JONES
Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)

Route de Versailles

Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)
Route de Versailles
signed and dated 'Sisley.76' (lower right)
oil on canvas
18 3/8 x 24 1/8 in. (46.5 x 61.2 cm.)
Painted in 1876
Adolphe Tavernier, Paris; sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 6 March 1900, lot 76.
Maurice and Marguerite Sulzbach, Paris (acquired at the above sale).
Galerie Schmit, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 17 July 1987.
F. Daulte, Alfred Sisley: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Lausanne, 1959, no. 207 (illustrated).
Paris, Galerie Schmit, 25e exposition: Maîtres français, XIXe-XXe siècles, May-July 1987, no. 52 (illustrated in color).
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monet to Matisse: French Art in Southern California Collections, June-August 1991, p. 57 (illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

In the first weeks of 1875, Sisley and his family moved from Louveciennes to nearby Marly-le-Roi, settling at 2, rue de l'Abreuvoir. Less than twenty kilometers west of Paris in the lush valley of the Seine, Marly had once been the favorite country retreat of Louis XIV. Although the royal château had been destroyed during the Revolution, the massive Baroque garden and the great aquatic system for supplying its fountains remained intact, poetic vestiges of the ancien régime. The landscape in and around Marly proved to be a rich source of artistic inspiration for Sisley. Richard Shone has written, "The lie of the land and its network of roads provided a consistent backdrop to the minutiae of walls and shutters, passers-by, birds in the snow, geraniums in a window-box. He was an indefatigable walker and must have become a familiar figure in every quarter of the district, setting up his easel in the streets and paths of the village, under the high walls of the Parc de Marly, by the main road, or in the place de l'Abreuvoir" (Sisley, New York, 1992, p. 85). Shone has praised the years that Sisley spent at Marly as "the period of some of his greatest landscapes" (ibid., p. 85), while Christopher Lloyd has written, "During the years when Sisley lived in Marly-le-Roi and Sèvres, he painted some of the finest pictures in his oeuvre" (Alfred Sisley, exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1992, p. 149).

The present painting shows the picturesque route de Versailles, which had been laid out in the late 17th century as a royal road for carriages traveling from Saint-Germain-en-Laye to the Château de Marly and on to Versailles. The road begins near the Seine at Port-Marly and climbs uphill to Marly-le-Roi, where it intersects the rue de l'Abreuvoir just a short walk from Sisley's house; it continues to wind upward to Louveciennes, passing within a stone's throw of the artist's previous residence. Heavily traveled throughout the 19th century, the road was a popular motif for the Impressionist painters, especially for Pissarro, who lived at 22, route de Versailles at Louveciennes between 1869 and 1872. Richard Brettell has written, "There are Impressionist representations of virtually all aspects of the road: houses, trees, rural inns, and travelers seen from every imaginable viewpoint in every season and at many times of day. Indeed, the route de Versailles is to the Impressionist iconography of roads what the Seine is to its iconography of rivers" (A Day in the Country: Impressionism and the French Landscape, exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1984, p. 104).

Sisley opted in the present canvas to depict a peaceful stretch of the route de Versailles on the outskirts of Marly-le-Roi, the high stone wall on the left likely marking the edge of the Parc de Marly. The plunging diagonal of the road--one of Sisley's favorite formal devices during this period--provides the focal point for the tightly ordered composition, endowing the scene with instant structure and leading the eye slowly into depth. The converging banks of trees to either side of the road emphasize its gentle recession. Several pedestrians and a horse-drawn carriage travel along the wide path, reflecting the larger Impressionist project of representing human movement through the Seine valley. "Rivers, roads, and rails, with their appropriate modes of transport, became the major 'modern' motifs in landscape painting in the second half of the century," Scott Schaefer has explained (ibid., p. 139). The scene was painted on a clear day in late spring or summer, the sunlight flickering over the trees in full leaf. The entire upper half of the canvas is given over to the rendering of the cloud-flecked, pink-tinged sky, lending breadth to the composition and showcasing Sisley's mastery of Impressionist technique.

The first owner of Route de Versailles was the critic Adolphe Tavernier, one of Sisley's closest friends and most ardent supporters during the 1890s. At Sisley's funeral in 1899, Tavernier gave a moving oration, describing the artist as "a magician of light, a poet of the heavens, of the waters, of the trees--in a word one of the most remarkable landscapists of his day" (quoted in exh. cat., op. cit., 1992, p. 28).

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