The British number one is unusual among his countrymen in being perfectly at home on clay but he has struggled on the surface so far this season and fell to a 6-4 6-3 defeat in the Spanish capital.
It was a very tough draw against the hugely talented Italian, with Fognini on a winning run after claiming the Masters title in Monte-Carlo last month.
— ATP Tour (@ATP_Tour) May 7, 2019
Edmund had chances, particularly in the first set, but, after recovering an early break, he could not forge ahead against the player who beat him in five sets in the third round of the French Open last summer.
Edmund showed resilience in saving 12 of the 16 break points he faced but his second serve proved vulnerable and he will head to Rome next week desperate for wins ahead of Roland Garros.
The 24-year-old will see his ranking of 22 fall after reaching the quarter-finals here last season, where his scalps included Novak Djokovic.