Artist exhumed for paternity test
SPAIN: He famously claimed he would never die, so perhaps Salvador Dali might have been amused by the spectacle of being raised from his tomb to settle a claim that he secretly fathered a television fortune teller.
Under the cover of darkness and amid tight security, the body of the surrealist master was yesterday exhumed from its crypt in the Catalan town of Figueres for DNA testing that will prove whether or not Pilar Abel Martinez, 61, is his biological daughter.
Abel, who also hails from Dali’s home town, said she was ‘‘relieved’’ the moment she has long fought for had finally arrived, convinced she would be proved right.
‘‘I am very positive. I think that it has been long enough.’’
For more than a decade, she has claimed she is the product of a clandestine love affair between her domestic worker mother and the artist, who was then living with his wife Gala.
Abel, a fortune teller who for eight years hosted a tarot-card reading show on local television, is suing the Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation and the Spanish state, which owns his estate, to be recognised as his legal heir.
In June, a Madrid judge ruled there was no other way to settle her claim than to raise the artist from his grave, which was not a simple task. Dali’s body was interred in a self-designed resting place: the crypt beneath the stage in his Theatre-Museum in Figueres, sealed with a 11⁄2-tonne tombstone.
Cranes were brought in for the operation, while the crypt was covered with special sheeting to deter drones. – Telegraph Group