Salvador Dali (AP/Eustache Cardenas)

Salvador Dalí's body to be exhumed following psychic's paternity suit

A Spanish court ordered the famous painter's body exhumed to confirm Pilar Abel's paternity claims

Matthew Rozsa
June 26, 2017 3:01PM (UTC)

The body of the famous painter Salvador Dalí is about to be exhumed in order to resolve a decades-old question about whether he fathered another artist.

Spanish painter and psychic Pilar Abel, who claims that Dalí had an affair with her mother when she was working as a maid in 1955, will finally have the matter cleared up due to a court-ordered exhumation, according to a report by the BBC. The judge claimed that exhuming Dalí's body is necessary because there aren't any biological remains or personal objects available that provide enough genetic material for a paternity determination.


Abel had a paternity test conducted in 2007 in Madrid, according to a report by The Guardian. That one was performed using hair and skin from a death mask of Dalí, but its results were inconclusive.

When a second test was performed in Paris using samples that had belonged to Dali, Abel claims that she never received the results. Nicolas Descharnes, however — the son of Dalí's close friend and official biographer Robert Descharnes — has publicly stated that the doctor who carried out the paternity test verbally communicated that the results disproved Abel's claim.

Thanks to the court-ordered exhumation, however, Abel will be able to learn for sure whether Dalí was indeed her father.

Salvador Dali's marriage was notoriously tempestuous, and the surrealist painter's own work was so fraught with controversial sexual imagery that speculation about his sexuality remains rampant among scholars to this day. Prior to marrying Dalí, his wife Gala had been married to the French poet Paul Eluard.

The exhumation will remove Dalí's remains from a crypt at the Dalí Theatre-Museum in the Spanish city of Figueres.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Art Culture Entertainment Museums News Partner Video Pilar Abel Robert Descharnes Salvador Dali Spain

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