Salvador Dalí. Photo: Wally Rizzo for Paris-Match Collection Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation

Judge Orders Exhumation of Salvador Dalí’s Body for Paternity Suit

A judge in Madrid has ordered the exhumation of the body of Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí after a woman, who claims to be the artist’s daughter, filed a lawsuit in 2015 against the Spanish state and the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, Raphael Minder of the New York Times reports.

Born in 1956, Pilar Abel, a tarot card reader, says that Dalí had a “clandestine love affair” with her mother, Antonia Martínez de Haro in Port Lligat, Spain, the fishing village where Dalí and his wife Gala lived. Abel took legal action so that she could officially be recognized as the artist’s child and “after that, whatever corresponds to me.” Abel said that her mother, who worked as a maid at the time, told her as well as other people that Dalí was her father on several occasions. Commenting on her physical resemblance to the painter, Abel told El Mundo that “the only thing I’m missing is a mustache.”

According to the court, no other biological or personal effects of the artist remains, therefore Dalí’s corpse must be exhumed in order to obtain a sample of his DNA. Dalí was buried in a crypt below a theater and museum of his design in his hometown of Figueres, Spain. The artist’s foundation announced today that it will appeal the judge’s ruling. Dalí, who died in 1989, several years before Gala, had no children and left most of his works to the Spanish state.