Artist Dali’s body exhumed to resolve paternity dispute

July 20 (UPI) — The body of surrealist painter Salvador Dali is scheduled to be exhumed Thursday to resolve a paternity case, the director of his resting place said.

Dali, who died in 1989, is buried beneath a 1.5-ton slab under the dome of the Dali Theater Museum in Figueres, Spain.

Thursday’s exhumation is intended to determine if Dali’s DNA matches that of Maria Pila Abel — a woman born in 1956, she claims, to Dali and her mother following an affair. The woman’s mother had worked for a family whose residence in Cadaques, Spain, was near Dali’s home.

Abel said she had been told for years by her mother and grandmother that Dali, who is not believed to have any children, was her father.

Last month, a Madrid judge ordered the exhumation to settle the issue after Abel filed a legal claim to the estate. That claim is contested by the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, which manages the estate and the museum where the artist is buried.

Those involved in Dali’s life suggest his fatherhood of Abel is unlikely — particularly because he’d been classified by friends, biographers, and himself as gay and impotent.

Biographer Ian Gibson said Dali once claimed that impotence is a requirement to becoming a great painter. Married for 55 years to Elena Ivanova Diakonova, better known as Gala, it was assumed that the marriage was never consummated, {link:NBC News noted
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Dali, who died at the age of 84, was an iconic surrealist artist — perhaps best known for The Persistence of Memory (1931), which features melting clocks in a desert landscape.

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