A Spanish judge on Monday ordered the body of the surrealist painter Salvador Dali be exhumed to prove once and for all whether he sired a child with a maid working for another family.
Pilar Abel, 58, claims that Dali, who has no known children, had an affair with her mother in 1955.
According to Abel, Dali and his wife, Gala, were living in Cadaques around that time, when the artist met and struck up a friendship with her mother, a domestic worker for a neighboring family.
Spanish woman claims to be daughter of painter Salvador Dali
That friendship “developed into clandestine love,” Abel claimed in court papers. She also claims her mother told her she is Dali’s child and that her grandmother corroborates the claim.
“The only thing I’m missing is the mustache,” she told the Spanish paper El Mundo in 2015, referring to the artist’s famous, upturned mustache.
Abel’s quest to be named as Dali’s only child dates back to 2007, when she took a DNA test using hair and skin from Dali’s death mask that was inconclusive.
In 2015, she sued Dali’s heirs and the Dali Foundation — the promoters of his work — demanding that his body be dug up from its resting place in Figueres, Spain.
In Monday’s ruling, the Madrid judge sided with Abel, ordering the body be exhumed so that samples of his remains can be tested.
The Dali Foundation said it would appeal the judge’s ruling, which did not specify a date for the exhumation.
Even if Abel is successful in proving paternity, she would still have to file legal paperwork to begin using the Dali surname and to get a piece of the artist’s ample estate.
The painter is best known for the 1931 work “The Persistence of Memory,” which adorns college dorm rooms across the world. It features drooping clocks on a stark landscape with a weird eyelash creature in the foreground.
The painting is typical of Dali’s work: double-entendres, optical illusions, cheeky humor and overt sexual themes.
Dali, a contemporary and friend of Picasso, Magritte and Miro, was married to Gala Dali from 1934 until her death in 1982. He died in 1989 and is buried in a crypt in a museum dedicated to his life and art.