Twenty eight years since his death in 1989, Dalí has been exhumed from the crypt he designed himself, in his hometown of Figueres, Catalonia. The heavy marble slab that weighs one and a half tons was removed from the crypt in the Theatre Museum, and the remains were removed.
Pilar Abel, a sixty-one year old woman from the region, has laid claim to being the artists daughter and after years of legal battling she won the right to have Dalí’s DNA examined. ‘Biological specimens have been taken from Salvador Dalí’s remains’, Catalonia’s high court said in a statement.
Abel, who has spent over ten years trying to prove that Dalí was her biological father, says ‘the resemblance to the artist is so strong, the only thing I’m missing is the moustache’. She was told by her grandmother ‘I know you aren’t my son’s daughter and that you are the daughter of a great painter, but I love you all the same.’Abel claims her mother, who was working as maid in 1955 for a local family in Port Lligat- Cadaques, had a secret affair with Dalì. It was an open secret in her family.
If the DNA matches prove positive, Abel would be heir to a quarter of Dalí’s fortune. The Gala Dalí Foundation, which controls the artist’s patrimony, sought to block the exhumation. ‘We do not oppose paternity tests, but there are other options for extracting genetic material that fall short of exhumation,” a foundation spokesperson told the Spanish newspaper EL PAÍS.
If it turns out that Abel is the daughter of Dalí, she would be entitled to bear his surname and to a share of his estate and copyright royalties, all of which would entail a new court case.