Andrew Graham-Dixon

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Andrew Graham-Dixon
Andrew Graham-Dixon presenting the Grower of the Year Awards 2012.jpg
Andrew Graham-Dixon in 2012
Born (1960-12-26) 26 December 1960 (age 59)
Education Westminster School
Alma mater
  • Art historian
  • Television presenter
Known for

Andrew Michael Graham-Dixon (born 26 December 1960) is a British art historian and broadcaster.


Life and work


Graham-Dixon is a son of the barrister Anthony Philip Graham-Dixon (1929–2012), Q.C., [1] [2] and (Margaret) Suzanne "Sue" (née Villar, 1931–2010), a publicist for music and opera companies.


Graham-Dixon was educated at the independent Westminster School, where he was pushed to get into a well-paid job by his father and not waste time learning at school. This meant he finished his O Levels at age 14 and A Levels at age 16. He continued his education at Christ Church, Oxford, where he read English. He graduated in 1981, before pursuing doctoral studies at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.


Graham-Dixon began work as a reviewer for the weekly Sunday Correspondent , before becoming the chief art critic of The Independent newspaper where he remained until 1998. Early in his career (in 1987, 1988 and 1989) he won the Arts Journalist of the Year Award three years in a row. As of 2005 he is the chief art critic of The Sunday Telegraph . Since 2004, he has also been a contributor to the BBC Two's The Culture Show on a variety of subjects, and is often the main presenter of the programme. [3]

In 1992, Graham-Dixon won the first prize in the Reportage section in the Montreal World Film Festival for a documentary film about Théodore Géricault's painting The Raft of the Medusa . He has since gone on to present many BBC documentary series on art, including A History of British Art (1996), Renaissance (1999), Caravaggio (2002) [4] The Secret of Drawing (2005), [5] The Battle for British Art (2007), [6] Art of Eternity (2007), [7] Art of Spain (2008), [8] The Art of Russia (2009), Art of Germany (2010), Art of America (2011), [9] British Art at War: Bomberg, Sickert and Nash (2014) [10] , Art of China (2014) and Art of France (2017). He is passionate about the Mona Lisa , appearing in the popular BBC documentary Secrets of the Mona Lisa (2015). [11]

In 2018 he presented a four part series on BBC Four, Art, Passion & Power: The Story of the Royal Collection.

He has also presented programmes on subjects other than art, such as I, Samurai (2006) [12] and The Real Casino Royale for the BBC and 100% English (2006) for Channel 4. In 2010, he interviewed John Lydon for a Culture Show special about Public Image Ltd. [13]

In 2018, he gave a lecture as part of the Alpine Fellowship symposium in Venice. [14]

Graham-Dixon also wrote and presented the BBC documentary Who Killed Caravaggio?, broadcast on BBC 4 in 2010. The same year, his biography of Caravaggio was published as Caravaggio: A Life Sacred And Profane.

"The Tate Wars" with R. B. Kitaj

In 1994 American expatriate R. B. Kitaj had a retrospective at the Tate Gallery in London. Graham-Dixon, and several other London art critics, wrote negative reviews of the show, in some cases expressing personal, vicious attacks against the artist. Kitaj blamed the subsequent sudden death of his wife, artist Sandra Fisher, on the stress caused by these articles. Graham-Dixon's own paper, The Independent, said in an obituary for Fisher: "The fierce antagonism of newspaper critics towards Kitaj's recent late retrospective—in contrast to the response of an admiring public—made for a stressful last summer for a woman who will be remembered by many for her almost saintly happiness."

Kitaj's friend Sandy Wilson penned a letter to Graham-Dixon and other critics questioning the personal and vitriolic nature of their criticism, which many artists like David Hockney and Peter Blake signed. Lucian Freud commented on the letter: "Though it's often a good idea to write to someone in order to object, agree, question or ridicule anything they may have said or done ... I feel it pointless to gang up on a third-rate critic when you don't consider him seriously. As they wisely say in Ireland: what do you expect from a pig but a grunt?" [15] [16]

Honorary doctorate

Graham-Dixon was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Plymouth University in 2010.

Supporter of Young British Artists

He was an early supporter of the later-to-be Young British Artists (YBA) artists. In 1990 he wrote:

Goldsmiths' graduates are unembarrassed about promoting themselves and their work: some of the most striking exhibitions in London over the past few months—"The East Country Yard Show", or "Gambler", both staged in docklands—have been independently organised and funded by Goldsmiths' graduates as showcases for their work. This has given them a reputation for pushiness, yet it should also be said that in terms of ambition, attention to display and sheer bravado there has been little to match such shows in the country's established contemporary art institutions. They were far superior, for instance, to any of the contemporary art shows that have been staged by the Liverpool Tate in its own multi-million-pound dockland site. [17]

Personal life

Graham-Dixon married Sabine Marie Pascale Tilly in 1985. They have three children and live in Sussex. [18]

List of credits

Film and television
1992 The Billboard Project
1992 The Raft of the Medusa First Prize in the Reportage Section of the
Montreal International Film and Television Festival
1996 A History of British Art Six-part series
Nominated for BAFTA and RTS awards
1996 Hogarth's Progress
1999 Renaissance Six-part series
Nominated for RTS award
2001 Art That Shook the World Series 1 episode 1 "Monet's Impression Sunrise"
2002 Secret Lives of the Artists Three-part series on Constable,Vermeer, Caravaggio
2002The Elgin MarblesDrama-documentary on the Elgin Marbles
2003 1000 Ways of Getting Drunk in England
2004–present The Culture Show
2005 The Secret of Drawing Four-part series
2006 I, Samurai
2006 The Real Casino Royale
2006 100% English
2007 The Battle for British Art
2007 Art of Eternity Three-part series on Christian art
Long-listed for Grierson Awards
2008 Art of Spain Three-part series
2008Travels with VasariTwo-part documentary exploring the life and work of the artist, architect and chronicler of the Italian Renaissance, Giorgio Vasari.
2008The Medici: Makers of Modern ArtDocumentary
2009The Art of RussiaThree-part series
2009PicassoCulture Show Special
2010Art of GermanyThree-part series
2011Treasures of Heaven [19] Documentary about the British Museum exhibition on relics and reliquaries
2011I Never Tell Anybody Anything: The Life and Art of Edward Burra Documentary
2011Art of AmericaThree-part series
2012Sicily UnpackedThree-part series presented with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.
2013Italy Unpacked series 1Three-part series presented with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.
2013The High Art of the Low CountriesThree-part series
2014Italy Unpacked series 2Three-part series presented with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.
2014Art of ChinaThree-part series
2014The Art of Gothic: Britains Midnight HourThree-part series
2014Viking ArtPublished by BBC and broadcast as part of BBC The Culture Show series
2014British Art at WarThree-part series
2015Italy Unpacked series 3Three-part series presented with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.
2015Secrets of the Mona LisaDocumentary
2016Art of ScandinaviaThree-part series
2017Art of FranceThree-part series
2018Rome UnpackedTwo-part series presented with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.
2018Art, Passion and Power: the Story of the Royal CollectionFour-part history of the Royal Collection.
2018Stealing Van GoghDocumentary
2019Van Meegeren: The Forger Who Fooled the NazisDocumentary


DVD releases

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  1. "Graham-Dixon, Anthony Philip, (5 Nov. 1929–6 March 2012), QC 1973 – WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO". doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540891.001.0001/ww-9780199540884-e-17825 . Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  2. "GRAHAM-DIXON - Deaths Announcements - Telegraph Announcements". Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  3. Biography. Andrew Graham Dixon. Retrieved on 12 August 2013.
  4. Review in the Daily Telegraph of the Caravaggio BBC TV series
  5. "BBC – Arts – The Secret of Drawing". Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  6. "The Battle for British art: BBC FOUR webpage" . Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  7. "Art of Eternity: BBC FOUR webpage. Three episodes, broadcast December 2007" . Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  8. "BBC – Press Office – BBC Four to celebrate The Art Of Spain". Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  9. "BBC Four – Art of America". BBC. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  10. BBC,
  11. "BBC Two – The Secrets of the Mona Lisa". BBC. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  12. BBC TV website on I, Samurai
  13. "The Culture Show, John Lydon Special". . Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  14. "The Alpine Fellowship".
  15. Adams, Tim (10 February 2013). "RB Kitaj: an obsession with revenge" . Retrieved 20 June 2019 via
  16. "ART / The Kitaj myth: The man who would leapfrog his way into History". The Independent. 28 June 1994. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  17. Andrew Graham-Dixon, "The Midas Touch?: Graduates of Goldsmiths' School of Art dominate the current British art scene," The Independent , 31 July 1990, p. 13.
  18. Biography. Andrew Graham Dixon. Retrieved on 22 July 2016.
  19. "BBC Four – Treasures of Heaven". BBC. Retrieved 20 June 2019.