In Brief

The Persistence of DNA: Test Shows Dalí Wasn’t Tarot Card Reader’s Father

The results of a paternity test carried out after the artist’s remains were exhumed in July show that María Pilar Abel Martínez is not his daughter.

Salvador Dalí in 1939 (photo by Carl Van Vechten; Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons)
Salvador Dalí in 1939 (photo by Carl Van Vechten; Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons)

The results of a DNA test carried out after the body of Salvador Dalí was exhumed in July are in: the Spanish Surrealist is not the father of María Pilar Abel Martínez. In court documents, Martínez — a tarot card reader — had claimed that her mother had an affair with Dalí in the 1950s, and in June a judge ordered the artist’s body exhumed so a paternity test could be performed. Had the test come back positive, Martínez could have claimed a share of the artist’s estate, which he left to the Spanish state.

According to the BBC, Martínez has not made a public statement about the test results. Meanwhile, in a statement, the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation — which manages the artist’s estate and the museum in Figueres where he is buried — quoted the report from the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences as concluding that the result “permits the exclusion of Salvador Dalí as the biological father of María Pilar Abel Martínez.”

“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 Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation’s statement continues. “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’s statement fails to point out the one major benefit of exhuming Dalí’s body: we now know that his mustache is indestructible.

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