A Spanish judge in a Madrid court ruled yesterday that artist Salvador Dalí’s body be exhumed to settle a paternity case. A 61-year-old Spanish woman named María Pilar Abel Martínez claims that her mother had an affair with the artist while she was working as a maid for his neighbors in Port Lligat, a town in northeastern Spain. Abel reportedly said that her mother claimed Dalí was her father.
The judged ordered the artist’s body to be exhumed because "lack of other biological or personal remains" to compare to Abel's DNA.
Abel was born in Figueres, Girona, the same town where Dalí was born and died. Her family has been trying to prove his paternity for a decade. According to the Associated Press, Abel could be entitled to up to 25 percent of his estate if paternity is confirmed.
The Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, which manages Dalí’s estate, said in a statement that it will appeal the ruling. "The Dalí Foundation is preparing an appeal to oppose the carrying out of this exhumation, an appeal that will be presented in the coming days.”
Dalí was married to Gala, the muse who inspired his surreal paintings, at the time of the alleged affair. They did not have children together, and the artist left his estate to the Spanish state when he died in 1989.