Spanish authorities exhume remains of Dali for paternity test

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Madrid, July 21 (IANS) The remains of Spanish artist Salvador Dali has been exhumed from a grave in his native city Figueres in compliance with a court order in a paternity case, an official said.

Figueres Mayor Marta Felip, who was present for the exhumation on Thursday, said that forensic experts took samples of teeth and bone of the artist, who lived between 1904 and 1989, for DNA tests.

“The body will remain here (in Figueres),” she said, referring to the artist’s resting place inside the Dali Theatre-Museum, Efe news reported.

The process took some three and a half hours after the forensic team arrived. Most of the time was taken up in removing the 1.5-ton tombstone. The extraction of samples was complete by 11.40 p.m.

Once the coffin was unearthed, the forensic team went to work under the observation of attorneys representing the various parties to the case.

The lawyer for the Gala Dali Foundation, which operates the museum complex requested that the teeth and bone extracted be returned once the tests were done, Felip told the the media.

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.

Abel said her mother was a domestic employee at the home of friends of Dali in Cadaques, a coastal town in the Catalonia region within walking distance of the artist’s house and studio.

According to Abel, Dali took advantage of his frequent visits to the residence to pursue an affair with her mother, Antonia Martinez de Haro.

Abel said that her mother had always told her that Dali was her father, even in front of family friends.

“The only thing I’m missing is the moustache,” Abel has repeatedly said in reference to her physical similarity to the artist.

Thursday’s exhumation was carried out over the objections of the Gala Dali Foundation, which is named after the painter’s wife and muse, Russian-born Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, known as Gala.

–IANS

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