Salvador Dalí has been put to rest—again. After a drawn-out legal battle over a dubious paternity claim that culminated with the artist’s exhumation, the great Surrealist has been re-buried. The reinterment concludes a bizarre saga that involved a would-be psychic daughter, DNA tests, and a court-mandated disinterment.
The artist’s remains were exhumed in July when a judge ordered DNA tests to determine if Dalí was the father of Pilar Abel, a tarot card reader and fortune teller. Abel had long claimed to be the artist’s daughter, but the tests results ultimately disproved her case.
Early Friday morning, the DNA samples were reunited with the rest of the artist’s remains, in a tomb beneath a museum that Dalí designed himself.
“Last night, the DNA samples were returned,” the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation said in a short statement, as reported by the Guardian. “The mortal remains of Salvador Dalí have been reburied and lie beneath the dome of the Figueres Theatre-Museum. The procedure was the same as it was last July and was once again designed to preserve the master’s privacy and memory.”
True to the artist’s larger-than-life persona, the unveiling of Dalí’s tomb last summer was quite dramatic. “His face was covered with a silk handkerchief, a magnificent handkerchief. When it was removed, I was delighted to see his mustache was intact,” embalmer Narcís Bardalet told the Catalan radio station RAC1 at the time. “I was quite moved.”
Abel, born in 1956, had claimed her mother had an affair with Dalí while working as a domestic aide in his home. She had maintained her position for a decade, often insisting on their physical similarities, saying “the only thing I am missing is the mustache.”
Had her claim been proven true, Abel would have been entitled to a quarter of Dalí’s estate, which is valued at an estimated €300 million ($336 million). On the contrary, a Madrid court dismissed Abel’s two-year-old suit in October, ruling that she was responsible for the costs of the exhumation.
Dalí is buried in a crypt at the Dalí Theatre and Museum in his hometown of Figueres, Spain. It was designed by the artist and opened in 1974.
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