“The only thing I’m missing is a mustache.” That’s how Maria Pilar Abel Martínez once described her likeness to the eccentric Spanish artist Salvador Dali, who she claims is her father. And a judge in Madrid seems to agree, enough to order the Spanish government to dig up the surrealist master’s body for a paternity test.
Martínez, born in 1956 in Girona, claims her mother had an affair with the famous artist in 1955 while he was married to Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, better known as Gala — his muse. She says the affair took place in Cadaqués while her mother, Antonia, was working as a maid for a family that spent time in the town. They spent time in a house next to where the painter owned a home. Antonia left her job in 1955, moved to a different city, and married another man.
The judge said that because there was no biological remains or personal objects of the artist that could be used in a paternity test, his body would have to be exhumed to settle the matter.
Martinez, a 61-year-old tarot card reader, has previously undergone two paternity tests but didn’t receive the results for either one. The surrealist painter died in 1989 and he is buried at his eponymous museum in the Spanish town of Figueres in the north-eastern Catalonia region. He had no other children.
The legal action was taken against the Spanish government after Dalí left his entire estate to his country of birth. If Martinez is successful, she would legally be allowed to use his name and be entitled to part of his estate — though she would have to legally apply through the Spanish government.