This story is surreal, to say the least.
According to 61-year-old Spanish tarot card reader Maria Pilar Abel Martinez, surrealist painter Salvador Dalí is her biological father. Abel brought a paternity suit in Madrid in 2015, and the Spanish court has now ordered his body to be exhumed to obtain DNA samples.
The court says that the order could potentially be appealed but needs to be done because of the lack of personal effects or biological remains to acquire crucial samples.
“The DNA study of the painter’s corpse is necessary due to the lack of other biological or personal remains with which to perform the comparative study,” said the court.
Martinez claims her mother had an affair with the eccentric artist in 1955, and she was born in 1956. Allegedly, her mother — who was a maid in the ’50s — met Dalí while she was working for a family next to his home in Cadaqués (Catalonia, Spain). Dalí would have been married to his wife and muse, Gala, at the time.
Martinez says in court documents that the pair “had a friendship that developed into clandestine love.” She originally filed the suit in 2015, but only now has the search for DNA samples ramped up.
Spurred by her mother’s consistent remarks that the painter was her father, she took two DNA tests in 2007, using skin and hair remnants from a mask of Dalí’s. According to the court’s decision, results of both tests were inconclusive.
If Martinez is, in fact, Dalí’s daughter, she’s be entitled to part of his estate (upon his death, the artist left it to the Spanish state) and can legally request to use his last name.
Dalí died in 1989 in Spain at the age of 85 and is buried in Figueras in northeastern Catalonia, where he was born in 1904. As of this writing, the Gala Dalí Foundation has not commented on the planned exhumation.
Dalí, an artist who famously painted world-renowned works like Galatea of the Spheres and The Persistence of Memory, has no known living children. He and his wife were childless.