Salvador Dali's body exhumed for DNA paternity test

Image Dali's body to be exhumed to resolve paternity case

Lluis Penuelas Reixach, the secretary general of the Gala Dali Foundation, said during a Friday press conference that Dali's remains - including his mustache - are well conserved, mummified after the embalming process was applied 27 years ago.

After the gates of the premises closed Thursday, a 1.5-ton stone slab was removed to open the crypt with Dali's remains.

According to judicial authorities, only five people - a judge, three coroners and an assistant - were allowed to oversee the removal of the samples out of respect for the remains and in order to avoid any contamination.

Revered for his eccentric works, such as the melting clocks in the 1931 painting "The Persistence of Memory", and instantly recognizable for his signature handlebar moustache, Dali died of heart failure in 1989 at the age of 84.

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

In June, a Madrid judge ruled there was no other way to settle her claim than to raise the artist from his grave, which was not a simple task.

Abel alleges her mother and Dali had an affair in the fishing village where he lived and that it was no secret among the villagers.

"Getting the samples, that is, molars, teeth, long bones, in order to extract DNA will be easy, because the body will be in a relatively good condition", Mr Bardalet said.

The entire estate, which includes properties and hundreds of paintings, was estimated to be worth almost €400m (£358m) at the end of 2016.

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If Abel is confirmed as Dali's only child, she could be entitled to a slice of at least 25 percent of the huge fortune and heritage of one of the most celebrated and prolific painters of the 20th century, the woman's lawyer Enrique Blanquez said.

In an interview with AFP last month, just days after a court ordered the exhumation, Abel said her grandmother had told her she was Dali's daughter when she was seven or eight years old.

The Salvador Dali Foundation, which manages the late artist's estate, tried unsuccessfully to fight off the exhumation with a court appeal.

She said she was looking forward "to the truth being known once and for all".

At the time of the alleged affair between the two, Salvador Dali was married to Gala.

NBC News reported that the Dali Museums and Foundation oppose the exhumation.

To ensure no photos were taken of Dali's body, mobile phones were placed in a deposit box and a marquee was installed under the museum's glass dome.

Abel has already provided a saliva sample for comparison, with results expected within a matter of weeks.

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