A Spanish woman who believed Salvador Dali was her father is not the surrealist painters’s daughter, DNA tests have proved.
60-year-old Maria Pilar Abel Martinez won a court case back in June which resulted in a judicial order to have the body of Dali exhumed and subjected to DNA tests.
But now the Dali Foundation says the tests have conclusively proved the two are not related.
“The DNA tests show that Pilar Abel is not Dali’s daughter,” the foundation, which manages his estate, said in a statement on Wednesday, six weeks after the artist’s body was exhumed from 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.
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.’
Had they been related, Ms Martinez would have had a claim on part of Dali’s estate –his work was worth hundreds of millions of euros collectively and he bequeathed it all to the Spanish state upon his death.
A number of Dali experts had raised their eyebrows at the claim before his body was exhumed, with biographer Ian Gibson noting the artist’s own claim of “I’m impotent, you’ve got to be impotent to be a great painter”.
It is not known how Ms Martinez has responded to the news.