Published: Sat, July 22, 2017
Culture | By Henry Herrera

The Body Of Salvador Dali Exhumed To Settle Case

The Body Of Salvador Dali Exhumed To Settle Case

He famously claimed he would never die, so perhaps Salvador Dali might have been amused by the spectacle of being raised from his tomb to settle a claim that he secretly fathered a television fortune teller.

Even his charismatic mustache could still to be recognized, with "its classic shape of 10 past 10", said Lluis Penuelas Reixach, the secretary general of the Gala Dali Foundation, referring to the position of the hands of a clock.

Forensic experts opened the artist's coffin Thursday night in a sensitive operation that involved using pulleys to lift a 1.5-ton stone slab.

Dali was buried in the Dali Museum Theater in the northeastern Spanish town of Figueres, his birthplace, when he died at 84 years old in 1989.

The case came about after Pilar Abel, a psychic who worked in Catalonia claimed that her mother has a relationship with the surrealist painter in the port of Cadaques, Spain, where he lived for years.

In June, a Madrid judge ruled there was no other way to settle her claim than to raise the artist from his grave, which was not a simple task.

She is convinced that she is the artist's only daughter, despite the fact that Dali once famously said: "Great geniuses produce mediocre children, and I don't want to go through that experience".

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.

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Martinez filed the lawsuit with a Spanish court in March 2015, claiming that she was born as a result of an affair between her mother and Dali.

His lawyer at the time had estimated its value at $ 136 million.

The Salvador Dali Foundation which manages the estate says it was worth almost 400 million euros ($460 million) at the end of 2016.

The Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation is expected to make a statement to journalists about the exhumation later Friday.

In an interview with AFP last month, just days after a court ordered the exhumation, Abel said her grandmother had told her she was Dali's daughter when she was seven or eight years old. "My father deserves more than that", she said.

At the time of the alleged affair between the two, Salvador Dali was married to Gala.

The samples need to travel to a legal medicine lab in Madrid for analysis, which could take weeks, officials said. Extra measures were taken to prevent images being taken of the process, including raising a marquee inside the museum's glass dome to avoid any possible photography or video taken from drones.

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