Dali's trade­mark mous­tache in­tact at '10 past 10'

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Sur­re­al­ist mas­ter Sal­vador Dali's trade­mark mous­tache is in per­fect shape in its "ten past ten" po­si­tion, of­fi­cials said Fri­day, a day af­ter his re­mains were ex­humed to set­tle a pa­ter­nity claim. "I was very anx­ious about what I would see," said Nar­cis Bardalet, the foren­sic ex­pert who em­balmed Dali back in 1989 and who was at his grave the mo­ment he was ex­humed on Thurs­day night for DNA test.

"I was ab­so­lutely stunned. It was like a mir­a­cle...his mous­tache ap­peared at 10 past 10 and his hair was in­tact," Bardalet added dur­ing an in­ter­view with the pub­lic television sta­tion TVE1, re­fer­ring to the po­si­tions of the hands on a clock. The ar­du­ous task of ex­huma­tion in­volved re­mov­ing a slab weigh­ing more than a ton that cov­ered his tomb at the Dali The­atre-Mu­seum in Figueras in north­east­ern Spain where the ec­cen­tric artist was born. Bardalet was one of only a hand­ful of peo­ple in­clud­ing a judge al­lowed to watch the re­moval of sam­ples from Dali's re­mains.

"It was a mov­ing mo­ment for him and for us," Lluis Penue­las Reix­ach, the secretary gen­eral of the Sal­vador Dali Foun­da­tion, told a press con­fer­ence, in a ref­er­ence to Bardalet. DNA sam­ples were taken from Dali's hair, nail and two long bones, he added. A Madrid court last month granted Pi­lar Abel a DNA test to de­ter­mine whether she is Dali's child, as she claims. Abel, a 61year-old who long worked as a psy­chic in Cat­alo­nia, says her mother had a re­la­tion­ship with the artist when she worked in Cadaques, a pic­turesque Span­ish port where the painter lived for years.

If Abel is con­firmed as Dali's only child, she could be en­ti­tled to 25 per­cent of the huge for­tune and her­itage of one of the most cel­e­brated and pro­lific painters of the 20th cen­tury, ac­cord­ing to her lawyer En­rique Blan­quez. But the Dali Foun­da­tion's lawyer has in­di­cated Abel could get a big bill if her claims are proven false. "If Pi­lar Abel is not Dali's daugh­ter then we must ask this woman to re­im­burse the costs of the ex­huma­tion," said Al­bert Se­gura.

Act of vi­o­lence

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. A crowd of on­look­ers gath­ered out­side the elab­o­rate mu­seum of Dali's work to watch as po­lice es­corted the ex­perts into the build­ing, which is topped by a huge me­tal­lic dome dec­o­rated with egg shapes. Dali de­signed the build­ing him­self. The Dali Foun­da­tion had tried to fight off the ex­huma­tion with an ap­peal, but there was not enough time for all par­ties to present their case, a court spokesman said.

Penue­las, the secretary gen­eral of the foun­da­tion, said the ex­huma­tion was "al­most an act of vi­o­lence against a dead per­son". "The foun­da­tion will re­open the crypt in a pri­vate act to re­store the in­tegrity of Sal­vador Dali's body," he added. Abel has al­ready pro­vided a saliva sam­ple for com­par­i­son and the re­sults are ex­pected within a mat­ter of weeks. The foun­da­tion blasted the court's de­ci­sion to or­der the ex­huma­tion, say­ing in a state­ment that it was based only on Abel's claim that her mother once had a re­la­tion­ship with Dali.

The foun­da­tions said that be­fore car­ry­ing out an "in­va­sive" ex­huma­tion of Dali's re­mains, Abel's DNA should have been com­pared to her brother's. If they both matched, it would mean they shared a com­mon fa­ther, who was not Dali. "The court rul­ing that or­dered the ex­huma­tion lacked any ba­sis," the state­ment said. Dali's es­tate, which in­cludes prop­er­ties and hun­dreds of paint­ings, is en­tirely in the hands of the Span­ish state. The foun­da­tion says it was worth nearly 400 mil­lion euros ($460 mil­lion) at the end of 2016.

— AFP

This pic­ture shows Span­ish painter Sal­vador Dali, one of the most pop­u­lar painters of the 20th cen­tury, show­ing one of his paint­ing few mo­ments af­ter fin­ish­ing it in the Vin­cennes zoo, next Paris.

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