Exhuming Dali for a DNA Test

Published on 09 Aug

A judge in Madrid has ordered that the famous surrealist painter Salvador Dali be exhumed for a paternity test.

The claim for a DNA test has been brought by tarot card reader Maria Pilar Abel Martinez, who says her mother had a clandestine affair with the artist in 1955.

As there are no remaining personal effects of Salvador Dali, then exhumation is the only option and DNA testing now being conducted on DNA extracted from the bones, hair and teeth. Previous tests conducted on Paris have used skin and hair from a plaster mask, but the DNA test results are not being released. The painter, who died 23rd January 1989 at the age of 85 left an estate to the Spanish state and which is managed by the Dali Foundation. If paternity is proven, Ms Martinez may be entitled to a portion of this estate and could assume the Dali bname.

Dali’s surrealism was predominantly focussed on the human form but is also strayed into the realm of science when in 1963 he painted “Galacidalacidesoxiribunucleicacid”, which was a tribute to the discovery by Crick and Watson of the structure of DNA.  The exhumation itself is surreal, but the link to this painting (its title is a portmanteau of the name of Dali’s wife, Gala Dali and DeoxyriboseNucleic Acid) to prove paternity of a child by a man who believed himself to be impotent and apparently never had sexual relations, would have been particularly delicious to Dali.

There have been many famous exhumations, sometimes with the intent of DNA testing for paternity or relationship testing, sometimes it is an opportunity to prove the history of the remains (e.g. Jesse James, Christopher Columbus, Richard III) and sometimes it can be to try to prove cause of death, such a suspected poisoning (e.g. Yasser Arafat).  Other instances involve exhumation for repatriation, such as Eva Peron “Evita”, about whom the film was made.

DNA testing can reveal fascinating paternity issues from both the past and from the present. If you are unsure of “who is the dad” or want to discuss other biological relationships such as siblings, grand-parentage, please e-mail sales@thatdnacompany.com, call on 0203 603 1189 or just order online at www.thatdnacompany.com.  We would be pleased to help you.

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