July 21, 2017

"His moustache is still intact, [like clock hands at] 10 past 10, just as he liked it. It’s a miracle."

"His face was covered with a silk handkerchief – a magnificent handkerchief. When it was removed, I was delighted to see his moustache was intact … I was quite moved. You could also see his hair."

The exhumation of Salvador Dalí — already discussed in an earlier post today, here — does not respect the dead artist's privacy. Instead, an embalmer named Narcís Bardalet — who also handled the body at the time of the entombment in 1989 — gives the press his eyewitness account. He also said that the body "was like wood," and an electric saw had to be used to desecrate the body (that is, to collect the court-ordered bone samples).

These quotes appear in The Guardian, where there is a photograph of the woman who brought the lawsuit. She does look very much like Dali. Under Spanish law, she would be entitled to a quarter of the estate (though Dali willed everything to the Spanish state). The woman, Maria Pilar Abel, did not learn who her father was from her mother, but from her mother's husband's mother, who told her: "I know you aren’t my son’s daughter and that you are the daughter of a great painter, but I love you all the same."

Via Metafilter, where they are making jokes: "I will now enjoy imagining Dalí's mustache surviving the destruction of the earth, the guttering out of the sun, and even the heat death of the universe. In the end, there will only be the mustache, floating serenely in the void. An unguessable number of eons later, CREATION!"... "His moustache was in excellent shape, but his pocket watch apparently had melted."...

Speaking of Salvador Dali's mustache, here he is on "What's My Line?" in 1959, puzzling the blindfolded panel and cracking up the audience. It's a question about the mustache that identifies him:

22 comments:

Richard Dolan said...

Exhumation "does not respect the dead artist's privacy."

How can a dead person have a privacy interest that need respecting? He's dead and beyond caring. Perhaps others might find it offensive. But that's their problem, not his.

His body is like wood? So stick a computer in it and make a Dali-robot. That might solve the no-privacy-to-respect problem, too.

rcocean said...

Well, there's a contrast. Dali's corpse vs. a humorous - and delightful - Whats my line episode**

Did they sing "Hello Dali" when they opened the coffin?

** = I wonder if those things were rehearsed.

mccullough said...

Macabre. I dreamed that I saw Dali with a supermarket trolley

YoungHegelian said...

So, how did that pregnancy happen if it happened, what with Dali & his Fear of Flying re female genitalia & all?

I know Jefferson Airplane had a Surrealistic Pillow. Are we talking about some Catalan Surrealistic Pussy here?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Darrell said...

From not having a clue to asking whether of not he could be identified by his mustache alone, I think What's My Line should have been investigated for fraud.

Infinite Monkeys said...

She may look like Dali but there are no photographs of her family, so we can't tell if she also resembles the man who raised her.

buwaya said...

"From not having a clue to asking whether of not he could be identified by his mustache alone, I think What's My Line should have been investigated for fraud."

He was a celebrity at the time. He made himself a celebrity. I am sure that some of the weird was done for a reason.

Even the sort of people who would be on TV shows, or watched TV for that matter, were far better educated and kept up much better with "culture" in those days.

buwaya said...

"Are we talking about some Catalan Surrealistic Pussy here?"

Let us just say that my experience has been that the hardware is far less surrealistic than the software.

rcocean said...

"Even the sort of people who would be on TV shows, or watched TV for that matter, were far better educated and kept up much better with "culture" in those days."

I've watched several of these "What's my line" episode and its suspicious how often they go from complete puzzlement to the right answer.

Richard said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7N2wssse14

tcrosse said...

I think What's My Line should have been investigated for fraud.

The regular panel members, especially Dorothy Kilgallen, made it their business to know which celebrities were In Town that day, with a little help from the celebs' publicists.

Etienne said...

Grave robbers exult over cadaver...

Kassaar said...

Dali is in the Thunderclap Newman video (3:18). Coincidence?
I visited an exhibition of his work in the 70s. The piece I remember best is a surrealistic sofa named The Lips of Mae West.

Scott said...

That's a fabulous What's My Line clip!

Ann Althouse said...

"Dali is in the Thunderclap Newman video (3:18). Coincidence?"

Absolutely. I had not even watched the whole video. Am just seeing it because of your comment.

Eerie!

virgil xenophon said...

I never really "got" Dali until my Vietnam Tour. The Vietnam experience was NOTHING BUT an exercise in surrealism. I was assigned to the UK directly out of Vietnam and I remember standing in front of one of his works (one of the giant melting clocks ones) at the Tate Galleries and thinking: "NOW I understand..."

And not by accident I believe, many of my ex squadron mates whose homes I visited over the years across the US also contained Dali prints

William said...

If the panelists cannot guess the celebrity's identity, does that subvert the wattage of the celebrity? Hard to imagine a time in America when celebrities tried to disguise their identity rather than amplify it........Dali's art illustrated the subjunctive past. He is now part of the sunjunctive past. His current identity is based more on feelings than on facts....... Death has no dominion over his upcurled moustache. An affirmation and demonstration of the power of the surreal.

Josephbleau said...

Richard Dolan said...
"Exhumation "does not respect the dead artist's privacy."

How can a dead person have a privacy interest that need respecting?"

So in the case of the person mowing the veterans cemetery "prairie" you claim that a contract or law to protect or maintain a grave to perpetuity is prima face' invalid?

tcrosse said...

If the panelists cannot guess the celebrity's identity, does that subvert the wattage of the celebrity?

If Bennet Cerf never heard of you, how famous could you be ? Incidentally, the biggest prize on What's My Line was fifty bucks.

EMyrt said...

Privacy, my ass.

Dali would have loved nothing better than to have his exhumation turned into a reality tv media circus!

I'm Myrt!

PS Sorry for the cranky. I just got off a day of voir dire as a jury panelist.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

As with the whiskers of Cheshire cat the moustache will be the last to vanish.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Harking to the discussion of who should paint Obama, would not Dali ?? love to paint Trump ??