Pin It
salvador dali

Salvador Dalí’s body exhumed with mustache still intact

The surrealist painter was taken from his resting place for a paternity test

We recently heard that the remains of Salvador Dalí were to be exhumed, as a woman who believes she is the prolific artist’s daughter sought a paternity test. Well, it’s happened. His body was taken from the place of burial, the Dalí Museum Theatre in Figueres, Spain, and samples of hair, nail, teeth and bones were taken to extract DNA. While we wait for the paternity test results, the forensics team also found Dalí’s iconic mustache, totally intact.

Lluís Peñuelas, secretary-general of the Dalí Foundation, told the Spanish publication El Pais: “The mustache preserved its classic 10-past-10-position. Checking it was very exciting moment.” You can just imagine that clock-face-like, waxy facial hair still going strong three decades later.

Narcís Bardalet, who embalmed the artist in 1989 and was also present at the exhumation and tests, described it as “a miracle”, according to the New York Times. “Salvador Dalí is forever.”

Awnings and tents were set up inside the museum’s glass-roofed atrium to prevent the use of drones used to capture any photographs or footage, according to Hyperallergic.

It was last month that a judge ordered the procedure, despite pleas from the painter’s estate foundation and the mayor of Figueres. Now the exhumation and tests have been completed, news as to whether Pilar Abel, a 61-year-old tarot reader, is actually Dalí’s daughter will come back in a few weeks. The pair were meant to have had their affair in 1955 in Port Lligat, the small fishing village where Dalí and his wife Gala, built a house.

As various tales have gone round over the years, it’s known that Dalí and Gala, his business manager and model muse, had an unconventional relationship. As NPR details, he only visited Gala in their castle home with written permission. Gala was encouraged to keep lovers, while Dalí claimed to be both impotent and a virgin, while still surrounding himself with younger, beautiful muses. He often claimed he wanted nothing from women but their beauty, preferring to be a voyeur. Their relationship produced no children, and thus no heir to his huge estate. Spanish law would give Abel, if proven to be his child, a quarter of the estate.

Abel first brought her claims to light in 2007, and the court case began in 2015. She filed in place of her mother who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Abel has asserted that she wants recognition as the painter’s daughter, “after that, whatever corresponds to me.”

Though the Gala-Salvador Dalí foundation complied with the exhumation a statement detailed that they “consider the exhumation performed on Salvador Dalí’s remains entirely inappropriate.”

“There is no evidence that claimant Pilar Abel Martínez’s claim has any legal basis, as the only grounds provided constitute a notarial statement from a woman who claims to be a friend of the mother, stating that the latter told her that her daughter’s father was Salvador Dalí.”

While this case continues, resuming in September, there’s still very much an appetite for the surrealist artist’s work. The Royal Academy London will host the first-ever exclusive dialogue between Dalí and Marcel Duchamp: the exhibition will include 80 paintings, sculptures, Readymades, photographs, drawings, films and archival items, and will use the pair’s unlikely friendship as a point to explore aesthetics, philosophical and personal connections.