A Spanish judge just ordered the body of Salvador Dalí to be exhumed for a paternity test. The order comes as a result of a lawsuit filed by a woman named Pilar Abel, a tarot card reader who claims to be Dalí’s illegitimate daughter. In court, Abel claimed that her mother was working near the Dalí family’s holiday home in the 1950s and that the two “had a friendship that developed into clandestine love”. Now, Abel wants to be recognised as the surrealist’s rightful heir.
This legal battle has been going on for over a decade. Abel attempted to get DNA proof that Dalí is her father back in 2007, using hair and skin remains taken from the painter’s death mask. The results of that test were inconclusive, however, and there are no other biological remains. That’s why Abel sought the court order to exhume Dalí’s body. Abel also claims that Dalí’s own mother first suggested that she was Dalí’s long lost daughter and, according to the complaint, told Abel that she was “as weird as [her] father”. Abel’s lawsuit, filed against the Dalí family as well as the Dalí Foundation, now seeks to give her full rights over the Dalí copyrights as well as the right to carry on his name. However, according to El Pais, “all this would be subject to another demand.”
But the next, dark step to solving this mystery involves digging up Dalí’s body and getting some DNA samples. Dalí died in 1989 and is now buried in a tomb in a crypt below the stage at the Dalí Theatre and Museum in Figueres, Spain. So it seems that Dalí’s remains will return to the world of the living, however briefly, in characteristically dramatic fashion. Seems fitting for the world’s most famous surrealist.