His last unfinished painting

During his last year, Bacon sees his health worsen due to his asthma and his kidney cancer surgery in 1989.

In April 1992, the artist travels to Madrid, against his doctor’s advice, to visit José Capelo. Shortly after his arrival, he falls critically ill and is taken to the Clínica Ruber with pneumonia aggravated by asthma. There he dies of a heart attack on 28 April, at the age of 82.

In London, his last large canvas, poignantly a self-portrait, lies unfinished on an easel at Reece Mews. In a tribute to the artist, Sir Nicholas Serota, then director of the Tate Gallery, declared: “Francis Bacon was not only the greatest British painter of his generation, he was also internationally recognised as one of the outstanding artists of the post-war era”.

Bacon donated the whole of his estate, which included Reece Mews, to John Edwards. In 1998, at the request of John Edwards, the artist and architectural stained-glass designer Brian Clarke is appointed sole executor of The Estate of Francis Bacon by the High Court.

John Edwards.
Photo: Francis Bacon
Bacon and John Edwards at 7 Reece Mews (1980)
Photo and © Edward Quinn
MB Art Collection
Francis Bacon’s last unfinished painting, ‘Self-Portrait’ (1992)
Photo: Perry Ogden