DNA Says Salvador Dalí Is NOT the Father of That Tarot Card Reader

After digging up the mortal remains of surrealist and dorm-room favorite Salvador Dalí, tests say that he is, ’90s trashy TV style, NOT the father of a 61-year-old tarot card reader! What a fitting post-script to this man’s life.


That’s according to the Guardian.

For years, María Pilar Abel has claimed she was Dalí’s daughter, the result of an affair between the artist and her mother. That would make her legally entitled to some piece of the action from his estate, which Solicitor’s Journal explains he left to the Spanish state upon his death, controlled by the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation. It is still substantial, thanks in part to all those aforementioned dorm-room posters. Earlier this summer she got a court order requiring the foundation to drag Dalí’s body out of the crypt underneath his museum in Catalonia for a posthumous paternity test. For the Spanish speakers, here is some local coverage:

Artnet reported that the mustache is still going strong, all these years later, a detail which naturally went viral:

The Foundation stated that the intervention was undertaken with great care in order to minimize disturbance of the tomb and remains, and to “safeguard—as much as possible—the intimacy and memory of the Master.”

The secretary general of the Dalí Foundation, Lluis Peñuelas confirmed that the artist’s body was embalmed and so kept in good condition. “The mustache preserved its classic ten-past-ten position,”he told El Pais. “Checking it was a very exciting moment.”

And now the saga has reached its farcical conclusion, as the Guardian reports that the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation has announced the results are in and it’s bad news for Abel: “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 organization said in a statement. “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, meanwhile, told El País that she wasn’t done until seeing the official receipts, and “If it comes out negative, I’ll still be la Pilar.” God bless!

Senior Editor at Jezebel, specializing in books, royals, romance novels, houses, history, and the stories we tell about domesticity and femininity. Resident Windsor expert.



If she truly believe he was her father, I kind of feel bad for her. It would be hard to create this connection with this person she thought was her father only to have that thrown out and be back at square one. She probably created a lot of her identity around the idea that she was his daughter. If she was just going after his estate, obviously that’s pretty shady and it’s kind of gross he was exhumed for nothing.