Salvador Dali's trademark moustache intact at '10 past 10' position, foundation says day after exhumation

Ms Pilar Abel (left) has claimed that she is a child of Salvador Dali, whose trademark moustache was said to be in perfect shape after his remains were exhumed.
Ms Pilar Abel (left) has claimed that she is a child of Salvador Dali, whose trademark moustache was said to be in perfect shape after his remains were exhumed.PHOTO: AFP, OPERA GALLERY

MADRID (AFP) - Surrealist master Salvador Dali's trademark moustache is in perfect shape in its "10 past 10" position, the foundation that runs his estate said on Friday (July 21), a day after his remains were exhumed to settle a paternity claim.

Mr Narcis Bardalet, who was responsible for embalming Dali's body 28 years ago, was at his grave the moment he was exhumed on Thursday night for DNA tests.

"It was a moving moment for him and for us," Mr Lluis Penuelas Reixach, secretary general of the Salvador Dali Foundation, told a press conference.

The arduous task of exhumation involved removing a slab weighing more than a tonne that covered his tomb at the Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueras in north-eastern Spain where the eccentric artist was born.

"When I took off the silk handkerchief, I was very emotional. I was eager to see him and I was absolutely stunned. It was like a miracle ... his moustache appeared at 10 past 10 exactly and his hair was intact," Mr Bardalet told Catalan radio station RAC1 on Friday morning.

Mr Penuelas said DNA samples were taken from "his skin, nail and two long bones".

A Madrid court last month granted Ms Pilar Abel a DNA test to determine whether she is Dali's child, as she claims.

 

Ms Abel, a 61-year-old who long worked as a psychic in Catalonia, says her mother had a relationship with the artist when she worked in Cadaques, a picturesque Spanish port where the painter lived for years.

If Ms Abel is confirmed as Dali's only child, she could be entitled to 25 per cent of the huge fortune and heritage of one of the most celebrated and prolific painters of the 20th century, according to her lawyer Enrique Blanquez.

Dali's estate, which includes properties and hundreds of paintings, is entirely in the hands of the Spanish state.

The Salvador Dali Foundation says it was worth nearly 400 million euros (S$635 million) at the end of 2016.

Ms Abel has already provided a saliva sample for comparison and the results are expected within a matter of weeks.