As I suspected, a court-ordered paternity test carried out on the remains of Salvador Dalí, at the behest of a woman who claimed to be his illegitimate daughter, has revealed that she is not, in fact, the offspring of the Catalan Surrealist.
Regular readers will recall that I reported on the bizarre claims of fortune teller Pilar Abel, who for decades has been trying to prove that she was the result of an alleged affair which took place between Dalí and a maid working near his summer house on the Costa Brava back in 1955. In July of this year, Ms. Abel successfully persuaded a Spanish court to order the exhumation of the late artist, who is buried in the crypt of the museum bearing his name in the city of Figueres. The exhumation took place on July 20th, and analysis of the DNA of both the artist and the palm reader was carried out by the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences in Madrid. Formal notice that Ms. Abel is not the daughter of Dalí was issued by the Court of First Instance in Madrid yesterday.
A statement released by the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, which administers the late artist’s estate, including the three museums in Catalonia dedicated to his life and work, reads in part:
This conclusion comes as no surprise to the Foundation, since at no time has there been any evidence of the veracity of an alleged paternity. The unusual and unjustified court decision to practice the exhumation is confirmed as totally inadequate and disproportionate, showing its utter inadmissibility and the uselessness of the costs and damages caused of all kind, in respect of which the Foundation reiterates its express right of actions.
The Foundation is pleased that this report puts an end to an absurd and artificial controversy, and that the figure of Salvador Dalí remains definitively excluded from totally groundless claims. The Dalí Foundation is also pleased to be able to focus again on the management of its extraordinary artistic legacy and in the promotion of the work and figure of Salvador Dalí.
In other words it appears that the Foundation intends to, if I may quote Professor Bauer’s advice from my first day of Civil Procedure back in law school, “sue all the bastards” – pun intended.
I’m certainly no expert on Spanish law, whether it be their rules of evidence or indeed the basis in law for claiming damages following an unsuccessful paternity suit. But what always struck me as being particularly odd about this exceedingly odd case – particularly after TWO previous genetic tests failed to establish the veracity of Ms. Abel’s claim – was the fact that, at least according to most of the press reports that I’ve seen, the judge in this case ordered the late artist’s exhumation predicated mainly upon the testimony of a single witness: to wit, a friend of Ms. Abel’s mother, who claimed that the former maid had always told her that Ms. Abel was the result of a summer (ahem) dalliance with Dalí. I don’t quite understand how, given the paucity of evidence in this case, that such testimony could prove persuasive enough for a reasonable finder of fact to order something as drastic as an exhumation.
As of this writing, Ms. Abel has not issued a statement regarding the outcome of the test, but in closing, I’ll just let Dalí speak for himself: