Salvador Dalí's body to be exhumed for DNA test

Salvador Dalí paternity test

A bizarre paternity case involving legendary painter Salvador Dalí was to take an extraordinary step forward on Thursday, by digging up the past. 

Officials in Spain will break into the tomb holding the surrealist master's remains to retrieve a DNA sample, in hopes of unlocking the truth -- and potentially a massive fortune.

Artist Salvador Dalí to be exhumed over paternity suit

A woman who claims to be Dalí's daughter could be entitled to millions of dollars from his estate.

Dalí's body rests in the Spanish city of Figueres, in a tomb inside a palatial museum designed by the artist himself and then named in his honor. 

Like an Egyptian pharaoh, the eccentric painter planned his own afterlife, and he wanted to remain forever surrounded by some of his greatest works; The surrealism that made Dalí one of the most prolific artists of the 20th century lives on. 

His body will be briefly exhumed under high security in an effort to test the claim of Pilar Abel, a fortune teller who claims Dalí is her dad.

"I asked my mother if Salvador Dalí was my father, because he was a little bit ugly," a very frank Abel said during a news conference on Wednesday. "My mother responded, 'yes, he was your father.'"

Abel first claimed the bloodline 10 years ago, saying her mother, who was a nanny near Dalí's home, had an affair with him. A judge ruled in her favor.

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

Experts will take DNA samples from bone and tooth fragments and send them to Madrid for analysis.

Dalí died in 1989, married but without any children, and always insisting he had been faithful.

The Salvador Dalí Foundation has tried to fight off the exhumation, but barring an 11th hour legal surprise, a court spokesman said the test will go on.

Regardless of lineage, both the fortune teller and the surrealist know how to put on an elaborate show. Case in point: Abel once told a Spanish newspaper the only thing she was missing, was a mustache.

She insists the test is not about money -- a fortune worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Abel may not know the results of the test until September, when the court ruling is expected.