A 60-YEAR-OLD Spanish woman has won a court case resulting in a judicial order to have the body of surrealist painter Salvador Dali exhumed.
Maria Pilar Abel Martinez claims there is a possibility Dali was her father and the body will therefore be subject to a DNA extraction.
Dali died of heart failure in 1989 aged 85 and was previously thought to be childless – even largely celibate – however Ms Martinez, a tarot card reader, has been claiming since 2007 that her mother told her at an early age of a short-lived, secret affair with the artist in the mid-1950s.
Ms Martinez says her grandmother knew of the affair and would often tell her that she was ‘strange, like your father.’
Dali’s work was worth hundreds of millions of euros collectively and he bequeathed it all to the Spanish state upon his death.
Ms Martinez, a divorced mother of four, has said her main goal is to establish whether or not Dali was her father, but after bringing a lawsuit in 2015, she told the New York Times that she was also seeking ‘whatever corresponds to me.’
Ms Martinez has worked as a tarot card reader for decades, sometimes appearing on television, but she also told the Times that she did not read her own cards and that exhumation of Dali’s body was necessary to confirm her lineage once and for all.
Dali is buried under the theatre in his Catalonian home town of Figueres, which was converted into a museum for his work and is one of the region’s biggest tourist attractions.
In life, Dali was known to be highly eccentric, as was his wife, Gala. For much of their married life they lived separately, with Gala residing in a medieval castle in a small village and Dali allowed to visit only upon her written invitation.
A fire in the castle in 1984, two years after Gala’s death, almost killed Dali. An assistant of his, Robert Descharnes, pulled him out of the burning building.
Dali was hospitalised and fed by nasal tubes. In 2007, Ms Martinez contacted Descharnes, who still was in possession of some of the nasal tubes. He agreed to submit them for a DNA test, but the results were inconclusive.
The date for the exhumation has not yet been set.