Salvador Dalí exhumed for DNA tests21/07/17Culture
Forensic experts in Spain have exhumed the body of the surrealist painter Salvador Dalí to extract DNA in order to settle a paternity dispute.
Samples were taken from the artist’s teeth, bones and nails in a four-hour operation, officials said.
The exhumation followed a court order on behalf of a woman who says her mother had an affair with the painter.
If she is proved correct, she could assume part of Dalí’s estate, currently owned by the Spanish state.
It may take weeks before the results of the tests are known.
The surrealist painter, who died in 1989 at the age of 85, was buried in a crypt in a museum dedicated to his life and work in Figueres, in northeastern Spain.
A crowd gathered outside the museum to watch as police escorted the experts into the building on the evening of the 20 July.
The exhumation went ahead despite objections from the local authorities and the foundation carrying Dalí’s name, both of which claimed that not enough notice had been given ahead of the exhumation.
María Pilar Abel Martínez says her mother had an affair with Dalí during the year before her birth. Her mother, Antonia, had worked for a family that spent time in Cadaqués, near the painter’s home.
Martínez says her mother and paternal grandmother both told her at an early age that Dalí was her real father.
However, the claim has surprised many, including Ian Gibson, an Irish-born biographer of Dalí, who said that the notion of the artist having an affair that produced a child was “absolutely impossible”.
“Dalí always boasted: ‘I’m impotent, you’ve got to be impotent to be a great painter’.” Gibson said.