Entertaiment

Hair, nail, bone samples taken from Dali's body for paternity test

Hair, nail, bone samples taken from Dali's body for paternity test

After almost three decades underground, Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí is re-emerging on Thursday night, in another surreal twist to the artist's story.

Under the cover of darkness and amid tight security, the body of the surrealist master has been exhumed from its crypt in the Catalan town of Figueres for DNA testing that will prove whether or not María Pilar Abel Martínez, 61, is his biological daughter.

Abel said her mother was a domestic employee at the home of friends of Dali in Cadaques, a coastal town in the Catalonia region within walking distance of the artist's house and studio.

"The body will remain here (in Figueres)", she said, referring to the artist's resting place inside the Dali Theatre-Museum, Efe news reported.

Revered for his eccentric works, such as the melting clocks in the 1931 painting "The Persistence of Memory", and instantly recognizable for his signature handlebar moustache, Dali died of heart failure in 1989 at the age of 84.

Officials said hair, nails and two long bones were removed from the remains to find genetic samples for a paternity test - a move that could open a battle for the artist's estate.

Four people carrying a coffin entered the Dali Theater Museum on Thursday, one hour after doors closed to visitors.

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Her lawyer says that if her claim is proved valid, she'll be entitled to a quarter share of the estate, including copyright and paintings.

Forensic experts made the discovery after his embalmed body was exhumed for DNA testing. Before work in the crypt began on Thursday, mobile phones were put in a deposit and a marquee was installed under the museum's glass dome to prevent any photography or video from drones.

The entire estate, which includes properties and hundreds of paintings, was estimated to be worth almost €400m (£358m) at the end of 2016.

She took to court in 2015, suing the trustee of Dali's estate and the Gala Dali foundation that was created to administer it. "But I think it is surreal that they have to unearth his body after such a long time". In an article published by Ian Gibson last month in Spanish daily El Pais, the Dali biographer concluded that the artists' complex sexual appetites raised serious doubts about the existence of any offspring.

At that time, Salvador Dali was also married to his muse Gala, whose real name was Elena Ivanovna Diakonova.

"I've never heard of this woman, Dali never talked to me about her, and now suddenly all this fuss", Vehi said on Thursday.


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