Salvador Dali’s Body Exhumed for Paternity Test, and His Mustache Is Still Intact

Spanish Catalan surrealist painter Salvador Dali photographed in Barcelona Spain on May 24, 1966.
Spanish Catalan surrealist painter Salvador Dali photographed in Barcelona Spain on May 24, 1966. Jack Mitchell/Getty Images

So surreal. Salvador Dalí’s body was exhumed in Spain on Thursday, July 20, and forensics experts discovered that his signature mustache was still completely intact.

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Lluís Peñuelas, the secretary general of the public foundation that oversees Dalí’s estate, announced Thursday that his famous facial hair was well-preserved. “The mustache kept its classic 10-past-10 position,” he said, according to The New York Times. “Finding this out was a very emotional moment.”

Dalí, who died in 1989 at age 84, was buried in the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Spain. Forensics experts collected DNA samples from the surrealist painter’s remains for a paternity case. According to The New York Times, some of his hair and nails and two long bones were removed.

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The exhumation was performed following claims from 61-year-old Pilar Abel that she is the legendary painter’s daughter. If the late maestro is in fact her father, she could claim one fourth of the estate worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The paternity test results are expected in the next few weeks.

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Abel, a tarot card reader, claims that her mother had an affair with the artist in Figueres. Dalí and his Russian wife, Gala, had no children, although Gala had a daughter from a previous marriage to French poet Paul Éluard.

According to The New York Times, the foundation said in a statement on Friday that is considers the process “entirely inappropriate” because “there is no evidence that claimant Pilar Abel Martinez’s claim has any legal basis.” If the paternity test is not a match, the Salvador Dalí Foundation will go after Abel for the costs of the exhumation. 

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