A Spanish judge on Monday (June 26) ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dalí to be exhumed to settle a paternity suit, despite opposition from the state-run foundation that manages the artist's estate.
Dalí, considered one of the fathers of surrealist art, died in 1989 at the age of 84, and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres.
Pilar Abel, a tarot-card reader from the nearby city of Girona who was born in 1956, says she is the offspring of an affair between Dalí and her mother, Antonia, who worked as a maid for Dalí.
At the time of the alleged affair, Dalí was married to his muse, Gala, who died seven years before the painter. Gala, whom he married in 1934, had a daughter from an earlier marriage but the couple had no children of their own. Upon his death, Dali bestowed his estate to the Spanish state.
According to a statement from the Madrid Supreme Court, the objective of the exhumation is "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." Moreover, the court added that it ordered the exhumation due to the "lack of other biological or personal remains with which to compare" the woman's DNA.
El Mundo reports that Abel underwent DNA tests in 2007 and 2008, using retained samples from Dalí's body. However, the results were never shared with her, which Abel believes is due to the fact that the results may have been positive.
If there's a match, Abel could use Dalí as her surname and pursue further legal action to claim her rights over the artist's work and property, which according to regional laws could amount to 25 percent of the estate.
Although there is no date set for the exhumation, Abel's lawyer told El Mundo that it could happen as soon as next month.