Although he died in 1989, Spanish painter Salvador Dalí — he of the melting clocks and pointy mustache — has been embroiled in a heated paternity suit as surreal as one of his paintings. For the past ten years, 61-year-old tarot-card reader and fortune teller Maria Pilar Abel Martínez has been trying to prove that she is the artist’s only child. In June, a Madrid court ordered the artist’s body be exhumed in order to take DNA samples for a paternity test, and on Wednesday, the foundation that controls the artist’s estate announced that analysis showed Dalí was not Martínez’s father.
The Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation cited a report that had been presented to the court by the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences, but Martínez said that neither she nor her lawyers had received the results.
Both Martínez and the Foundation have financial interests at stake here. Were Martínez found to be Dalí’s child, she would be the heir to a quarter of the artist’s sizable fortune, much of which went to establishing and supporting the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation.
Regardless of the results, you’ll be hearing more from Martínez. The fortune teller told Spain’s El Pais newspaper: “Until I’ve got official word, they can say what they like. I’m not hiding away and no matter what the result is, positive, negative or invalid, I’ll give a press conference to all the media to explain the result.”
In a fitting conclusion for such an over-the-top case, she added: “If it comes out negative, I’ll still be la Pilar.”