Salvador Dali's exhumation: Even his iconic mustache survived

Peter Castro
July 22, 2017

"There is no evidence that claimant Pilar Abel Martinez's claim has any legal basis, as the only grounds provided constitute a notarial statement from a woman who claims to be a friend of the mother, stating that the latter told her that her daughter's father was Salvador Dali", the Foundation said.

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

Tests have previously been carried out on samples recovered from the death mask of the painter - who died aged 84 in 1989 - but findings were inconclusive.

Spanish experts said they removed the deceased painter's hair, nails and two long bones to find genetic samples to be used in a paternity test.

Biological samples were sent to a forensic laboratory in Madrid, with the results expected to be ready in a couple of weeks.

She said she was looking forward "to the truth being known once and for all".

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In the same interview, she said she spent her free time with family and her husband. Mirzakhani joined the faculty at Stanford in the San Francisco Bay area in 2008.

If Abel is confirmed as Dali's only child, she could be entitled to a slice of at least 25 percent of the huge fortune and heritage of one of the most celebrated and prolific painters of the 20th century, the woman's lawyer Enrique Blanquez said. The building now hosts the Dali Theater Museum.

Forensic experts opened the artist's coffin Thursday night in a sensitive operation that involved using pulleys to lift a 1.5-ton stone slab.

The public foundation that manages Dali's estate failed to halt the exhumation but convinced the judge to reschedule it out of visiting hours.

The entire estate, which includes properties and hundreds of paintings, was estimated to be worth almost €400m (£358m) at the end of 2016. Before work in the crypt began on Thursday, mobile phones were put in a deposit and the museum's glass dome was covered to prevent drone photography or videos.

According to her lawyer, if it turns out that Abel is indeed the daughter of the famed artist, she could be entitled to a quarter of his vast fortune, which includes properties and hundreds of paintings, and is now entirely in the hands of the Spanish state. 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.

Dali and his Russian wife Gala - whose birth name was Elena Ivanovna Diakonova - had no children of their own, although Gala had a daughter from an earlier marriage to French poet Paul Eluard.

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