A Spanish court has ordered the exhumation of Salvador Dalí’s body in order to obtain samples for a paternity suit brought by a woman claiming to be his daughter.
The Madrid court said the exhumation aimed “to get samples of his remains to determine whether he is the biological father of a woman from Girona who filed a claim to be recognised as the daughter of the artist.
“The DNA study of the painter’s corpse is necessary due to the lack of other biological or personal remains with which to perform the comparative study.” The order could be appealed, the court said.
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.
Agence France-Presse contributed to this report