MADRID — The body of surrealist painter Salvador Dali is to be exhumed on Thursday in order to carry out a paternity test after a Spanish judge ordered the move in June.
Revered for his eccentric works, such as the melting clocks in the 1931 painting “The Persistence of Memory,” and instantly recognizable for his signature handlebar moustache, Dali died of heart failure in 1989 at the age of 84. He was thought to be childless.
But a 61-year-old Spanish woman from the city of Girona, who was not named by the court, convinced the judge that Dali should be unearthed in order to find if she is the artist’s daughter.
It is well-known that the woman, who works as a tarot card reader, has been claiming since 2007 that she is Dali’s child. She is seeking legal recognition as his daughter, which could also entitle her to portions of his property and rights to his art.
She says her mother was employed in Dali’s household in the mid-1950s and the two had a secret love affair. Dali would have been married to his muse Gala at the time.
Dali is buried among his art works under the glass dome of the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figueres, a city is Spain’s north-eastern Catalonia region.
He is entombed under two blocks of stone that each weigh 1.5 tons, the city administration said.
The Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation is expected on Friday to make a statement to journalists about the exhumation.