A Spanish court has ordered the exhumation of the body of famous artist Salvador Dali after a woman who claims to be his daughter filed a paternity claim.
The judge in charge said that the exhumation should “get samples of his remains to determine whether he is the biological father of a woman from Girona, in northeastern Spain, who filed a claim to be recognized as the daughter”.
Pilar Abel, 58, claims her mother met the surrealist painter in the 1950s when she was working for a family that would often spend summers in Cadaqués, close to where Dalí had a home. The pair “had a friendship that developed into clandestine love”, Abel said in documents presented to a Madrid court in 2015. She was born in 1956.
Dalí would have been married to Gala, born Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, at the time. They married in 1934 but had no children.
Driven by her mother’s repeated comments that she was Dalí’s daughter, Abel took a DNA test in Madrid in 2007, using hair and skin remains that she had obtained from a death mask of the painter. The results were inconclusive.
Dalí is buried in Figueras, a city in the north-eastern region of Catalonia where he was born in 1904. He died in January 1989 of heart failure after a life marked by the genius of his work and his eccentricities and extravagances.
The surrealist painter died in Spain in 1989, aged 85. He was buried in his home town of Figueres in north-eastern Catalonia region of Spain.
In ordering the exhumation, the judge said there were no biological remains or personal objects of the artist to be used in the paternity test.
Maria Pilar Abel Martínez, a tarot card reader who was born in Girona made the claim for the first time in 2015.
She said her mother had worked for a family that spent time in Cadaqués, next to where the painter had a home, Spanish newspaper El País reports. At that time, Dalí was married to Gala. The couple had no children.
The Gala Dalí Foundation has not commented on the matter so far, but judging by the comments left by several public figures and TV networks, most Spaniards disapprove such a move and think that Dali’s remains should be left intact.