Artist Salvador Dali’s remains exhumed for paternity test in Spain

World Today

Workers bring a casket to the Dali Theater Museum in Figueres, Spain, Thursday, July 20, 2017. Salvador Dali’s eccentric artistic and personal history took yet another bizarre turn Thursday with the exhumation of his embalmed remains in order to find genetic samples that could settle whether one of the founding figures of surrealism fathered a daughter decades ago. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

The body of famous, Spanish artist Salvador Dali has been exhumed in hopes of resolving a long-running paternity case. The surrealist painter died in 1989, but a 61-year-old Spanish woman claims to be his daughter.

CGTN’s Dan Williams has the story.

Follow Dan Williams on Twitter @Danielclearcut

The Salvador Dali Theatre museum contains some of the surrealist artist’s most ambitious and famous works in the Spanish town of Figueres, where he was born and died. The building also contains his tomb.

Nearly 30 years after his death, a court ruled that Dali’s body should be exhumed. It comes after 61-year-old Maria Pilar Abel claimed she was the secret daughter of Dali. DNA samples will now be taken from Dali’s body to settle the question.

“I want to know who I am. To find out the truth. All this is a search for the truth. It would be a sigh of relief. A weight lifted,” Pilar Abel said.

Police and forensic experts arrived shortly after the museum closed to begin the exhumation. The museum had opposed the process. Pilar Abel, a tarot-card reader, said she was told by her mother that she was conceived in 1955 when her mother had an affair while working as an employee at the Dali household.

The results of the DNA tests should be known within the next few weeks. Pilar Abel claims she is not motivated by a possible inheritance. Even so, if successful, she could be entitled to a quarter of the Dali estate under Spanish law.

Her lawyer, Enrique Blazquez, maintains that’s not the reason for the action.

“Pilar Abel does not say anything about claiming inheritance. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but today we need to say only if Salvador Dali is the father of Pilar Abel,” Blazquez said.

Pilar Abel began the legal process in 2007. The exhumation should solve the paternity questions once and for all. Even if the result is negative, she says she will continue to contest.

“I’ll keep being Pilar. What’s going to change I’ll keep fighting. But that all remains to be seen,” she said.

Salvador Dali’s life was known for eccentricity and a taste for the peculiar. It appears that even in death, the unconventional continues.