DNA Tests Debunk a Psychic’s Claim to Be Dalí’s Daughter, and a Surreal Saga Comes to an End

The artist's body will soon be returned to its resting place.

Salvador Dali. Photo by Kammerman/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.
Salvador Dali. Photo by Kammerman/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.

A Spanish tarot card reader’s quest to be acknowledged as the daughter of Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí may have come to an anticlimactic end.

The Court of First Instance no. 11, in Madrid, has ruled out Pilar Abel Martínez’s claim to be descended from the artist, based on DNA samples from her and from the artist, analyzed by the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences.

The artist’s body was exhumed in July in a dramatic ceremony at the Dalí Theater-Museum, located in his hometown of Figueres, Spain. Digging up the corpse involved hefting a tombstone weighing more than a ton; the DNA test required samples of the artist’s hair, nails, teeth, and bones.

Pilar Abel Martinez, 61, claims to Salvador Dali's daughter, poses with a bag reading "Yes" during an interview in Barcelona, on June 26, 2017. Photo Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images.

Pilar Abel Martinez, 61, claims to Salvador Dali’s daughter, poses with a bag reading “Yes” during an interview in Barcelona, on June 26, 2017. Photo Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images.

The psychic first claimed to be the artist’s secret daughter in 2015. Previous DNA tests—using samples from the artist’s death mask—proved inconclusive.

“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 said in a biting press release. “The Foundation is pleased that this report puts an end to an absurd and artificial controversy, and that the figure of Salvador Dalí remains definitively excluded from totally groundless claims.”

Abel Martínez maintains that her mother had an affair with the artist in 1955, while she was working as a domestic aide to a family in Figueres, where Dalí also maintained a residence. Abel Martínez was born in 1956. Her claim could have had dramatic financial results: Spanish law could have entitled her to a 25 percent share of his estate, estimated to be worth up to $336 million, as reported by the Telegraph.

“The remains of Salvador Dalí will shortly be returned,” says the foundation’s press release.


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