Body of Salvador Dalí to be exhumed for DNA test

Body of Salvador Dalí to be exhumed for DNA test


The body of Salvador Dalí is due to be exhumed on Thursday 20 July, following a paternity suit brought forth by a woman claiming to be his daughter.

Maria Pilar Abel Martinez was born in 1956, and believes she was the result of an affair while her mother was working as an employee at the Dalí household in the 1950s.

Ms Martinez told the Independent last week she was searching, “for my identity, to find out who I am…I just want the truth to be known.” She also hopes to change her surname to Dalí, insisting that it is not motivated by thought of a potential inheritance.

However, her lawyer Enrique Blazquez, said that if the test was confirmed, “under Catalan law and we are talking about a quarter part of the estate, patrimony that Dalí left…This includes copyright, paintings and everything else. But this is something that we will deal with when the time comes.”

The surrealist artist, who died in 1989 at the age of 85 in north-eastern Spain, will have samples taken from his remains to see if they match the DNA of the claimant. The process has been cleared, despite objections of the local authorities and the foundation carrying Dalí’s name.

The Dalí foundation, which manages the estate of the artist, has challenged the claim as it is strongly believed he did not have any children, despite five decades of marriage to Russian Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, better know as Gala Dalí.

Ms Martinez however is adamant, and said her mother and paternal grandmother both told her at an early age that Dalí was her real father. She has never approached the artist about the possible link, despite occasionally seeing him in their hometown, “we never spoke but we’d look at each other a lot… how could I ask him. I was just a girl.”

She took a DNA test in 2007 using skin and hair remains obtained from a “death mask” of the painter, but the results were inconclusive, The Guardian reported.

Yet, Ian Gibson, an Irish-born biographer of Dalí has a different view, “I think that Dalí would greatly enjoy being exhumed, it’s a totally surrealist event. He’d be thrilled, I’m quite sure, by the whole business.”

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