Published: Sat, July 22, 2017
Entertaiment | By Simon Arnold

Body of Surrealist Painter Dali Exhumed for Paternity Test

Body of Surrealist Painter Dali Exhumed for Paternity Test

"Dali always made a show of his own life, he was a person who sold himself very well and I believe that he would be delighted with all this media frenzy because after 28 years Dali sees the light again although he's embalmed", Serra said.

The court ruled that DNA tests were necessary to make a genetic comparison with Dalí due to a lack of other biological or personal remains.

Officials said Friday that the artist's mummified remains were so well conserved that even his famous moustache had survived the passing of time and remained in "its classic shape of ten past ten", referring to the positions of the hands on a clock.

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.

"A day like this arouses in me a great deal of feeling because it reminds me of the day of his death", Maria Lorca, who was the mayor of Figueras at the time of Dali's death in 1989 at age 84, told AFP.

If she is successful, Ms Abel, 61, from Figueres, Catalonia, could stake a claim to the surrealist's €300 million estate.

Martinez filed the lawsuit with a Spanish court in March 2015, claiming that she was born as a result of an affair between her mother and Dali.

The DNA sample will be taken from either bone or tooth, and Abel has already provided a saliva sample to test against.

Her lawyer says that if her claim is proved valid, she'll be entitled to a quarter share of the estate, including copyright and paintings.

For more than a decade, Ms Abel has claimed that 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. There are no current estimates of the value of that fortune.

During a press conference this week, Abel explained how her mother and grandmother told the family secret when Abel was still young. They were married over 50 years, but she was primarily his muse.

The entire estate, which includes properties and hundreds of paintings, was estimated to be worth almost €400m (£358m) at the end of 2016.

Although a court gave the go-ahead for the exhumation last month, the Dali Foundation opposed the move, calling it "totally uncalled for", as the artist had said he was infertile. Extra measures were taken to prevent images being taken of the process, including raising a marquee inside the museum's glass dome to avoid any possible photography or video taken from drones.

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