Het fantastische verhaal van Jan Traas, in 1922 aangenomen als conciërge bij het Mesdag Museum in Den Haag (huidige Mesdag Collectie?) en wegens te weinig werk aan het restaureren gezet. Tweehonderd Van Goghs en Vermeers Meisje met parel stonden bij hem op de ezel. Met de kennis van nu is men daar toch niet meer zo blij mee.
“Later in 1927, after treating the Sunflowers, Traas undertook his first organised training. He went to Vienna for a five-month internship at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, where he performed simple remedial work. In 1931 Traas was taken on as a restorer at the Mauritshuis in The Hague, although he remained the concierge at the Mesdag Museum until 1940. At the Mauritshuis he developed his skills and remained there until his retirement in 1962 (he died in 1984). Among his last jobs, the year before he retired, was the conservation of Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring (c.1665).”
“[…] Traas treatments should be seen in the context of his time: “Understanding the consequences of these earlier treatments provides a basis for dealing with the legacy of the past.” But it remains highly disturbing that a restorer with virtually no formal training and with little experience should have been given the task of restoring so many of Van Gogh’s paintings.”
- Jan Cornelis Traas restoring Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring (c.1665) at the Mauritshuis in 1961, the only known photograph of him. © Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague.