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Exhumation to test Salvador Dalí's claim that he was always faithful

Dalí's surreal paternity lawsuit
Artist Salvador Dalí to be exhumed over paternity suit 03:06

Surrealist master Salvador Dalí is now at the center of a bizarre paternity lawsuit.

A Spanish judge Monday ordered the iconic artist's remains to be dug up, decades after his death.

A woman who claims to be his daughter from an affair wants to see if Dalí's DNA is a match.

We'll never know whether Dalí himself would have been horrified by this slightly surreal court decision - or delighted.

After all, he made a career as the great master of surrealism in 20th century art -- and grew famous and rich, reports CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer.

In 1934, he married Gala, a Russian teacher. Their relationship, too, had its surreal side. The couple never had children, Gala had other lovers and for years they lived apart, with Dalí only visiting upon written invitation.

Dalí lived and breathed surrealism, but as he told Mike Wallace in a 1958 interview, his devotion to Gala was very real.

In this May 21, 1973 file photo, Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France. AP

"Dalí never make love avec another woman to Gala," Dalí said.

Enter Pilar Abel, a tarot card reader who claims Dalí is her father, after an affair with her mother, who was a nanny near Dalí's home.

"I want this exhumation to tell me who I am," Abel told Spanish TV, "and to bring satisfaction at last to my mother."

Abel insists her claim isn't about Dalí's estate, which is worth hundreds of millions of dollars at auction where his paintings fetch stratospheric prices.

A portrait of Paul Eluard went for $20 million. There's also a sculpture and a world-famous museum dedicated to the man who we might call the grandfather of performance art.

What to make of Abel's claim? In spite of a slew of beautiful models and studio assistants, surreal as it sounds, Dalí always vowed he was 100 percent faithful.

Only science can prove him right or wrong, but the Dalí estate is saying they will appeal the exhumation order.

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