Salvador Dali was quite possibly one of the wackiest men in the history of wacky artists . The surrealist artist brought us pieces like The Persistence of Memory, The Elephants and The Burning Giraffe before his death in 1989. And now, in a new development worthy of its own surrealist painting (who wants to get on that? Shotgun not us) the body of the artist will be exhumed in a bizarre paternity case.
The grave of Salvador Dali is set to be opened at some point today, to provide evidence of a long-running case involving famous TV personality, Pilar Abel. The Spanish tarot card reader and fortune teller is well-known on Spanish TV, and has claimed for many years that her mother had an affair with Salvador Dali – meaning she is the illegitimate daughter of the artist.
Throughout the paternity case, forensic scientists have struggled to find a viable sample of Dali’s DNA to test against Abel. The DNA was found on Dali’s death masks, where the scientists found hair samples and particles of skin. However, there has not been enough to get an accurate reading. So now they’re going to the source itself, and exhuming his body to test it once and for all.
Salvador Dali is currently residing under the ground and floor of the Dali Theater-Museum in Figueres, Spain. If the test proves positive and Abel is the daughter of Dali, she will be entitled to a quarter of Dali’s incredible fortune, including money, artwork and properties. In his will, Dali left his fortune to the Spanish state as he (supposedly) had no children before his death.
However, the news of the exhumation has been criticized by many fans of Dali, as well as scientists. Many have questioned the motives of Abel, as well as the ability to find viable DNA on the body. DNA specialist, Victoria Moore has spoken to Live Science about the process.
Humidity and environment generally can all have a knock-on [cumulative] effect, as well as the type of embalming methods that have been done – whatever chemicals have been used in that process may start to destroy whatever DNA is present.
The scientific inaccuracies, as well as the ethics behind exhuming a body for a court case, have caused many to appeal the court ruling. Nevertheless, it is still going ahead.
We’ll find out in the next few weeks whether Salvador Dali had a daughter.