Published: Sat, July 22, 2017
Entertaiment | By Minnie Bishop

Forensic experts open Dali's coffin to take DNA

Forensic experts open Dali's coffin to take DNA

She is convinced that she is the artist's only daughter, despite the fact that Dali once famously said: "Great geniuses produce mediocre children, and I don't want to go through that experience".

The museum, a top tourist site that drew over 1.1 million visitors a year ago, will be covered in some places with cloth to prevent drones from capturing images of the exhumation, which is expected to take several hours.

Among the skeptics is Joan Vehi, who started working as a carpenter for Dali and his wife, Gala, but who, over time, became a close friend of the couple and one of the painter's personal photographers.

The Salvador Dali Foundation which manages the estate says it was worth almost 400 million euros ($460 million) at the end of 2016.

Officials said hair, nails and two long bones were removed from the remains to find genetic samples for a paternity test - a move that could open a battle for the artist's estate.

If Ms Abel's claims are proved right, she could claim a quarter of Dali's estate which was bestowed to the Spanish state.

If the operation is successful, the samples will travel to a forensic lab in Madrid, where an analysis could take weeks.

Under the cover of darkness and amid tight security, the body of the surrealist master has been exhumed from its crypt in the Catalan town of Figueres for DNA testing that will prove whether or not María Pilar Abel Martínez, 61, is his biological daughter.

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Undertakers take a casket inside the Teatre-Museu Dali (Theatre-Museum Dali) after the arrival of forensic examiners for the exhumation of Salvador Dali's remains in Figueras on July 20, 2017.

Experts were last night given access to the crypt Dali designed for himself within his museum in home town Figueres, Catalonia. "I am very positive, very happy", Abel told reporters at a Madrid hotel on the eve of Dali's exhumation.

Abel says a desire to honor her mother's memory, and not money, were motivating her paternity lawsuit.

"We wouldn't say anything, we would just look at each other".

Spain's Culture Minister Inigo Mendez de Vigo said he was "saddened" by the exhumation but he stressed that the court order must be obeyed.

But according to Abel's lawyer Blanquez, his affair was "known in the village, there are people who have testified before a notary".

Dali's foundation made sure no images of the exhumation were made public. Years later, she confronted the mother by asking: "Is Dali really my father?"

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