Salvador Dali's body exhumed for DNA test

Are you my surreal dad? Dali to be exhumed in paternity case

Salvador Dali's eccentric artistic and personal history has taken yet another weird turn with the exhumation of his embalmed remains in order to find genetic samples that could settle whether one of the founding figures of surrealism fathered a girl decades ago.

The exhumation followed a court order on behalf of María Pilar Abel Martínez, a tarot card reader, who says her mother had an affair with the painter.

If she is successful, Ms Abel, 61, from Figueres, Catalonia, could stake a claim to the surrealist's €300 million estate.

Almost three decades after his death, the Spanish painter's body, mummified after an embalming process, is "in good condition", said Marta Felip, mayor of Figueres, who was present at the late-night exhumation in the Catalonian City's Dali Theater and Museum.

Experts had to remove a 1.5-tonne stone slab to access the artist's remains, buried in a crypt beneath a museum Dali designed for himself in Figueres.

Officials said hair, nails and two long bones were removed from the remains to find genetic samples for a paternity test - a move that could open a battle for the artist's estate.

Biological samples were sent to a forensic laboratory in Madrid, with the results expected to be ready in a couple of weeks.

Four people carrying a coffin entered the Dali Theater Museum on Thursday, one hour after doors closed to visitors.

Maria Pilar Abel, 60, filed a lawsuit in September 2016, against Dali's heirs, the Spanish treasury and the Gala Dali Foundation claiming to be the artist's daughter and demanding a share of the inheritance.

"The only thing that can dictate if I am the daughter of Salvador Dali is DNA".

Martinez is believed to have brought the claim because of her hard financial situation and she likely hopes to get part of Dali's estate.

The Salvador Dali Foundation, which manages the late artist's estate, tried unsuccessfully to fight off the exhumation with a court appeal.

"We wouldn't say anything, we would just look at each other".

Dali was known for his surrealist paintings, perhaps the most celebrated of which is The Persistence of Memory, featuring a number of melting clock faces, which would become a defining feature of much of the painter's work.

Dalí died in 1989 at the age of 85 and had no recognized children.

Returning to Catalonia after 12 years, he invited French poet Paul Eluard and his Russian wife Elena Ivanovna Diakonova to Cadaques. Dali would have been married to his muse Gala at the time. She died in 1982.

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