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Spanish Court Orders Woman Who Claimed To Be Salvador Dalí’s Daughter to Pay for Exhumation

Following a dispute over the estate of Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, a Spanish court has ordered a woman who had previously claimed to be the illegitimate daughter of the artist to pay for the exhumation of his body, AFP reports.

A judge in Madrid had ruled that Dalí’s remains needed to be exhumed after Pilar Abel, a tarot card reader who alleged that the artist had an affair with her mother Antonia Martínez de Haro in Port Lligat, Spain, filed a lawsuit against the Spanish state and the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation. Gala said that Haro worked as a maid in Port Lligat, Spain, the small fishing village where Dalí and his wife Gala lived at the time. She claims she took legal action in order to be officially recognized as his offspring.

On July 20, a stone slab was removed from the artist’s tomb in the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figueres, which the artist founded in 1983. After collecting samples of his DNA, a paternity test was conducted by the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences and the results determined that Dalí is not Abel’s biological father.

In response, the foundation issued the following statement: “This conclusion comes as no surprise to the foundation, since at no time has there been any evidence of the veracity of an alleged paternity. The foundation is pleased that this report puts an end to an absurd and artificial controversy, and that the figure of Salvador Dalí remains definitively excluded from totally groundless claims.”

Had the test been positive, Abel would have been an heir to Dalí’s entire estate, which he bequeathed to the state and the foundation upon his death in 1989. Abel had tried to collect samples from Dalí’s death mask nearly a decade earlier, but the results were inconclusive. The amount that Abel is expected to pay back was not disclosed.