Maria Pila Abel is taking great lengths to prove that her father was a famous surrealist painter best known for The Persistence of Memory, a 1931 classic featuring melting clocks in a desert landscape. Born in 1956, she alleges that Salvador Dali and her mother – who worked for a family near Dali’s Cadaques, Spain, home – had an affair.
Her mother and grandmother had relayed the story for years that Dali was her father, in spite of the artist’s claims throughout his life that he never had children.
Dali died in 1989 at the age of 84.
Following a claim filed by Abel against Dali’s estate, a Madrid judge ordered the exhumation to settle the legal matter. The Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation that manages the estate and the Dali Theater Museum is contesting Abel’s allegations.
People close to Dali during his life agree with the foundation’s assertions. His paternity is unlikely at best. Those close to him and Dali himself admitted that he was both gay and impotent. Biographer Ian Gibson revealed that Dali once claimed that the requirement to become a great painter was impotence.
Dali was married to Elena Ivanova Diakonova for 55 years. However, most of those who knew the couple assumed that the marriage was never consummated.
His body is scheduled to be exhumed with a DNA sample being taken for testing, according to the director of his resting place. Retrieving Dali will not be easy as his body is beneath a 1.5-ton slab under the dome of the museum in Figueres, Spain.