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Spain

Salvador Dali reburied in his tomb after paternity tests prove negative

The surrealist’s body was exhumed in July after a judge gave the go-ahead to DNA tests to establish whether he was the father of Pilar Abel, a tarot card reader and fortune-teller

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 March, 2018, 12:01pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 March, 2018, 9:44pm

Three decades after he died and eight months after his remains were disinterred to settle a paternity claim, Salvador Dali has once again been laid to rest, in his entirety, beneath the museum he designed as a shrine to his own life and art.

The surrealist’s body was exhumed from its tomb in Figueres, Catalonia, in July after a judge gave the go-ahead to DNA tests to establish whether Dali was the father of Pilar Abel, a tarot card reader and fortune-teller who had long claimed to be his daughter.

Hair, nail and bone samples taken from the body proved he was not her father. The exhumation did, however, reveal that the artist’s trademark moustache was still intact.

In the early hours of Friday morning, the samples were reunited with the rest of his remains, which lie beneath a stone slab weighing 1.5 tonnes.

“Last night, the DNA samples were returned,” the Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation said in a short statement. “The mortal remains of Salvador Dali have been reburied and lie beneath the dome of the Figueres Theatre-Museum. The procedure was the same as it was last July and was once again designed to preserve the Master’s privacy and memory.”

Despite the strict privacy measures put in place on both occasions (tents were set up to hide the tomb from view) details emerged of the body that greeted the experts last summer.

Narcis Bardalet, the embalmer who tended to Dali’s body and assisted with the exhumation, said he had been delighted to see that 28 years below ground had not cheated the artist of his best-known feature.

“His moustache is still intact, [like clock hands at] 10 past 10, just as he liked it. It’s a miracle,” Bardalet told the Catalan radio station RAC1 at the time.

“His face was covered with a silk handkerchief, a magnificent handkerchief. When it was removed, I was delighted to see his moustache was intact … I was quite moved. You could also see his hair.”

Abel spent a decade trying to prove her paternity claim, arguing the resemblance between her and Dali was so strong “the only thing I’m missing is a moustache”. Had the DNA tests found in her favour, she would have been heir to a quarter of Dali’s fortune.