Spanish authorities exhume remains of Dali for paternity test

In a statement, the foundation said that, while it respected the court's decisions and cooperated with the exhumation, it "considers the exhumation performed on Salvador Dali's remains entirely inappropriate".

Forensic experts made the discovery after his embalmed body was exhumed for DNA testing. In order to lessen the risk of contaminating any biological samples, only five people - a judge, three forensic experts and an assistant- witnessed the opening of the coffin at 22:20 local time.

His body was buried there under a 1.5-tonne slab in an elaborate crypt after he died, childless, aged 84 in 1989.

Her lawyer, Enrique Blanquez, said a judicial victory for Abel would give her a chance to seek one-fourth of Dali's estate in further lawsuits, in accordance with inheritance laws in Spain's Catalonia region.

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. However, Martinez claims that she was born from a secret affair that her mother, a maid, had with the artist in 1955, according to court documents.

Regional Catalan officials previously told AP that experts planned to remove four teeth, some nails and the marrow of a long bone, if the corpse's condition allowed it.

Martinez is believed to have brought the claim because of her hard financial situation and she likely hopes to get part of Dali's estate.

Dali lived his last years in seclusion in his castle of Pubol with his companion Gala, who died in 1982, with whom he had no child. There are no current estimates of the value of that fortune.

She took to court in 2015, suing the trustee of Dali's estate and the Gala Dali foundation that was created to administer it.

Abel said that her mother had always told her that Dali was her father, even in front of family friends.

The entire estate, which includes properties and hundreds of paintings, was estimated to be worth almost €400m (£358m) at the end of 2016. Ms. Abel reports having asked her mother if this man was, in fact, her father, to which the woman reportedly replied "Yes".

The foundation and the museum of Figueres took steps to make sure no images of the exhumation may emerge in public.

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.

The samples will now travel to a forensic lab in Madrid, where an analysis could take weeks.

  • Kyle Peterson