His first show in Madrid is held at the Fundación Juan March in 1978.
In August 1987, Bacon meets José Capelo. He starts spending a significant amount of time in Spain with this Madrid banker, discovering the Spanish way of life, and even learning Spanish. Bacon often holds court at the Bar Cock, a baronial-style bar frequented by actors and artists. Bacon's favourite seafood restaurant in Madrid is La Trainera.
From the late 1980s, Bacon and Capelo travel to France, England and Italy. The artist paints several portraits of his Spanish friend and includes him in his last large triptych in 1991.
Bacon’s numerous trips confirm an abiding interest in both the city of bullfights and the artist he worships above all: Diego Velázquez. In 1990, Bacon travels to Madrid for the outstanding Velázquez exhibition at the Prado museum.