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Salvador Dalí exhumation: moustache still intact at ‘10 past 10’ position

The artist’s bones were dug up to extract DNA samples following a paternity suit


21 July 2017 01:49 PM


A. Ruiz Terol | Figueres

Although Salvador Dalí died almost thirty years ago, the world-famous Catalan genius still surprises us with his surrealistic performances.

On Thursday evening, his remains were removed from the crypt located at the epicentre of the Dalí Theatre-Museum in the north-eastern Catalan town of Figueres. The exhumation was ordered by a Madrid court to extract DNA samples, following a paternity suit by Pilar Abel.

Abel, a tarot card reader born in 1956, claims that her mother and the painter had a secret affair. This affair would have taken place whilst her mother was working as a housekeeper in the seaside town of Cadaqués for some friends of the Dalí family.

The doctors took samples of the artist’s hair, nails, teeth and four bones. The remains will be exhumed again to put back all the pieces that were removed. Representatives of the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, who manage the artist’s estate, said Dalí’s body was “well preserved,” and his moustache, just like clock hands, still reading 10 past 10.

  • “Dalí was totally unable to have any sexual relations with anybody, not even, probably, with Gala… He hated being touched and when he touched you it was like being clawed by an eagle”

    Carlos Lozano · Friend of Dalí

The paternity claim has been disputed by the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation. Should the DNA tests be negative, the Foundation will sue Abel to cover the costs of the trial.

The results of the DNA test should be back by September, before the trial on the 18th. If the genetic evidence proves that Abel is indeed Dalí’s daughter, she would become Dalí’s only heir.

The consequences of the finding could be dramatic: not only for the artist’s estate, which he left to the Spanish state, but also how we understand Dalí’s life.

Dalí's sex life

Dalí sex was, to say the least, quite controversial. Apparently, the only woman with whom he ever had sexual relations with was his wife and muse Elena Ivanova Diakonova (commonly known as Gala).

According to the BBC, Carlos Lozano, who was part of the painter’s entourage, told the British historian, and Dalí biographer Ian Gibson, that: “Dalí was totally unable to maintain sexual relations with anybody, not even with Gala… He hated being touched and when he touched you it was like being clawed by an eagle.”

In a book Gibson wrote that the artist believed he was gay, but would never admit to it. His relationship with the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, who openly liked men, caused him a great deal of anxiety.

The solution came in 1929, when he met Gala, who would eventually become his wife and muse. Gibson said their relation was not sexually satisfying, but that did not seem to bother Dalí, who could then happily present himself in society with a “stunning and seductive lady”.