The body of surrealist painter Salvador Dali is to be exhumed to test samples for a paternity suit brought by a woman who claims to be his daughter.
The order was made by a court in Madrid which said it was “to determine whether he is the biological father of a woman from Girona who filed a claim to be recognised as the daughter of the artist,” AFP reports. It adds the order can be appealed.
Pilar Abel, 58, claims Dali had an affair with her mother who was working as a maid close to the home he shared with his wife and muse Gala in Cadaques. Abel’s mother is said to have left the area in 1955 and married another man, delivering her daughter in February 1956.
According to Spanish daily El Pais, Abel was told she was Dali’s daughter repeatedly by her paternal grandmother, who would tell her: “I know you are not my son’s daughter… but I love you the same.”
The tarot card reader and astrologist has previously remarked upon her physical resemblance to the artist, telling El Mundo: “The only thing I am missing is a moustache.”
Dali’s body is entombed at the museum bearing his name in Figures, Spain. According to reports at the time of his death, more than 50,000 people attended the service to view the artist’s body in an open casket, which revealed even in death: “his trademark moustache curled neatly upwards.”
Dali died in 1989 at the age of 85 after suffering heart failure brought on by pneumonia.
There is no date set for the exhumation but Abel’s lawyer has claimed it could be as soon as July.
There has been no comment from the museum.