Salvador Dali Body Ordered To Be Exhumed On 20th July

Salvador Dali Body To Be Exhumed

You couldn’t get more surreal than this! The exhumation of the body of the artist Salvador Dali will go ahead on 20th July. A Spanish judge has ordered the artist’s foundation to allow the body to be dug up in order to extract a DNA sample, once and for all settling a paternity case. The court revealed on Thursday the action could be delayed if an appeal from the Dali Foundation is accepted. 

Martinez, said her mother, had a clandestine affair with the painter in 1955

The 20th-century master’s body is buried in his museum/foundation in Figueras, in northeastern Spain. Pilar Abel, a 61-year-old woman who is a known psychic in Catalonia, has claimed that her mother had an affair with the artist when she worked in Port Lligat, near where the painter had a home for a number of years. On Tuesday, medical specialists took saliva samples from Abel to extract DNA to compare it with that of Dali.

Le Sommeil (Sleep), 1937 by Salvador Dali
Le Sommeil (Sleep), 1937 by Salvador Dali

A spokesperson representing the Salvador Dali Foundation, the keepers of the artist’s estate and archives said that they have lodged an appeal against the exhumation. This can only upturn the judge’s decision if it is successful. Madrid’s high court, which oversees courts in the area including the one that ordered the exhumation, added it was scheduled for 9.30 am local time (0730 GMT).

Maria Pilar Able Martinez (b 1956) claimed that her mother, a maid, told her several times that Dali was her father, often in front of others. Ms. Martinez, a tarot card reader, said her mother, Antonia, had a clandestine affair with the painter in 1955 while she was working for a family that spent summers in Cadaques close to where the artist had a home.  She left her job in 1955 and moved to another city where she got married. The decision cites that in 2007 Ms. Martinez underwent two paternity tests using hair and skin remains obtained from a death mask of the painter but the results were inconclusive. Abel’s lawyer Enrique Blanquez, his affair was “known in the village, there are people who have testified before a notary”.

Salvador Dali was born on 11 May 1904. He was one of the best-known 20th-century artists. Equally celebrated and reviled, this mustachioed Spaniard has become an icon of the art historical canon remembered both for his bizarre art and bizarre personality. He is known as a Surrealist. He died in 1989, age 85.