July 21 (UPI) — Forensic experts have exhumed the body of Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí.
The purpose, to determine whether Dalí fathered a previously unknown child, remains unresolved. But workers made another significant discovery Thursday night: The artist’s classic upright mustache has remained intact.
Dalí died in 1989 at age 84 and was buried in his hometown of Figueres, Spain. A Madrid judge ordered that authorities exhume his body, the latest development in a paternity suit filed by Maria Pilar Abel. Abel, a Tarot card reader born in 1956, argues she was born out of an affair Dalí had with her mother in the 1950s.
The New York Times reported that Abel has said she would like “whatever corresponds to me,” in addition to recognition of her alleged legitimacy as Dalí’s daughter. The Times reported Dalí left millions of dollars to the Spanish government, which is a co-defendant in the suit.
Government officials, and the foundation managing Dalí’s estate, have condemned the exhumation, which included the gathering of bones and teeth, hair and nail samples. It will take a few weeks to determine whether Dalí is Abel’s father.
Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, Spain’s culture minister, told reporters Thursday that the procedure “breaks my heart.”
The foundation, in a news release Friday, said “there is no evidence” of any legal basis for Abel’s claims. The organization called the exhumation “an invasive act.”
For some, though, the exhumation did not completely taint the significance of finding Dalí’s mustache in its famous style after almost 30 years.
“Finding this out was a very emotional moment,” Lluís Peñuelas, the foundation’s secretary general, said.
Narcís Bardalet, the embalmer who worked on Dalí’s body, shared in Peñuelas’ awe.
“His mustache is still intact, [like clock hands at] 10 past 10, just as he liked it,” Bardalet told Catalan radio station RAC1. “It’s a miracle.”