The remains of Spanish legend Salvador Dali will be exhumed today

The remains of Spanish legend Salvador Dali will be exhumed today

Salvador Dali's eccentric artistic and personal history has taken yet another freaky turn with the exhumation of his embalmed remains in order to find genetic samples that could settle whether one of the founding figures of surrealism fathered a girl decades ago.

"Getting the samples, that is, molars, teeth, long bones, in order to extract DNA will be easy, because the body will be in a relatively good condition", Mr Bardalet said.

Under the cover of darkness and amid tight security, the body of the surrealist master has been exhumed from its crypt in the Catalan town of Figueres for DNA testing that will prove whether or not María Pilar Abel Martínez, 61, is his biological daughter.

If she is proven to be his daughter, she would have a claim to part of her father's large estate.

Dali was buried in the Dali Museum Theater in the northeastern Spanish town of Figueres, his birthplace, when he died at age 84 in 1989.

While hundreds of journalists and onlookers gathered in front of the museum, the exhumation was held behind closed doors on Thursday evening.

The exhumation went ahead despite the objections of the local authorities and the foundation carrying Dalí's name, both of which claimed that not enough notice had been given ahead of the exhumation.

"The only thing I'm missing is the moustache", Abel has repeatedly said in reference to her physical similarity to the artist.

The Dali estate is worth about $460 million. "I am very positive, very happy", Abel told reporters at a Madrid hotel on the eve of Dali's exhumation.

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Abel is from the city of Figueras, like Dali, and she said she would often see him in the streets.

The Salvador Dali Foundation says it will seek financial compensation for the costs of the exhumation if Ms Abel is wrong.

"It is for this reason that we, the people of Figueras, we believe that it is very hard that he could have a child", said the AFPTV a resident of Figueras, Lidia, who claims to have known Dali at the age of 13 years.

"We wouldn't say anything, we would just look at each other".

Dali is the world's most renowned surrealist painter.

But according to Abel's lawyer Blanquez, his affair was "known in the village, there are people who have testified before a notary".

Returning to Catalonia after 12 years, he invited French poet Paul Eluard and his Russian wife Elena Ivanovna Diakonova to Cadaques.

They never had children and she died in 1982, seven years before Dali's death.