Andrew Graham-Dixon

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Andrew Graham-Dixon
Graham-Dixon in 2012
Born (1960-12-26) 26 December 1960 (age 62)
London, England
EducationWestminster 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 career[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

Andrew 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. He continued his education at Christ Church, Oxford, where he read English. He graduated in 1981 and then pursued doctoral studies at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.


Graham-Dixon began work as a reviewer for the shortlived weekly The Sunday Correspondent before becoming the chief art critic of The Independent, where he remained until 1998. He won the Arts Journalist of the Year Award three years in a row – in 1987, 1988 and 1989. He later became the chief art critic of The Sunday Telegraph.

In 1992 Graham-Dixon won the first prize in the Reportage section at the Montreal World Film Festival for a documentary film about Théodore Géricault's painting The Raft of the Medusa. From 2004 he was a contributor to The Culture Show on BBC Two, covering a variety of subjects and often acting as the main presenter.[3] He has also presented 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 saw the publication of his biography, Caravaggio: A Life Sacred And Profane.

Honorary doctorate[edit]

In 2010 Plymouth University awarded Graham-Dixon an honorary Doctorate of Arts.

Supporter of Young British Artists[edit]

He was an early supporter of the group later known as the Young British 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.[15]

Cambridge Union speech[edit]

On 9 November 2021 Graham-Dixon was banned from speaking again at the Cambridge Union after "doing a Hitler impression". According to the Campaign Against Antisemitism Graham-Dixon recited part of speech made by Adolf Hitler including the lines: "This modern, horrible art that was promoted by the Jews.. and the modern art, it was cubist – inspired by the art of the negroes. This tribal art, urgh, how horrible is that?" [16] He later apologised for the impression and claimed that he was trying to "underline the utterly evil nature of Hitler." He added: "I apologise sincerely to anyone who found my debating tactics and use of Hitler's own language distressing; on reflection I can see that some of the words I used, even in quotation, are inherently offensive."[16] Public figures including Louis de Bernières and John Cleese were among those to defend Graham-Dixon, and criticism of the Union's plans for an exclusion list prompted a U-turn from its president.[clarification needed] In a statement to The Jewish Chronicle, fellow historian Guy Walters said: “The idea that Andrew Graham-Dixon has been blacklisted for performing what was clearly a satirical impression of Adolf Hitler is both disgraceful and deeply ironic."[17] A full transcript of the speech was published by The Telegraph.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Graham-Dixon is married and lives in East Sussex. He has four children.[19]

Andrew is an accomplished amateur Snooker player when time permits.

Film and television credits[edit]

Film and television
Year Title Notes
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
2002 The Elgin Marbles Drama-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
2008 Travels with Vasari Two-part documentary exploring the life and work of the artist, architect and chronicler of the Italian Renaissance, Giorgio Vasari.
2008 The Medici: Makers of Modern Art Documentary
2009 The Art of Russia Three-part series
2009 Picasso Culture Show Special
2010 Art of Germany Three-part series
2011 Treasures of Heaven[20] Documentary about the British Museum exhibition on relics and reliquaries
2011 I Never Tell Anybody Anything: The Life and Art of Edward Burra Documentary
2011 Art of America Three-part series
2012 Sicily Unpacked Three-part series presented with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.
2013 Italy Unpacked series 1 Three-part series presented with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.
2013 The High Art of the Low Countries Three-part series
2014 Italy Unpacked series 2 Three-part series presented with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.
2014 Art of China Three-part series
2014 The Art of Gothic: Britains Midnight Hour Three-part series
2014 Viking Art Published by BBC and broadcast as part of BBC The Culture Show series
2014 British Art at War Three-part series
2015 Italy Unpacked series 3 Three-part series presented with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.
2015 Secrets of the Mona Lisa Documentary
2016 Art of Scandinavia Three-part series
2017 Art of France Three-part series
2018 Rome Unpacked Two-part series presented with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.
2018 Art, Passion and Power: the Story of the Royal Collection Four-part history of the Royal Collection.
2018 Stealing Van Gogh Documentary
2019 Van Meegeren: The Forger Who Fooled the Nazis Documentary


  • Howard Hodgkin. London: Thames & Hudson, 1994 (ISBN 0-50027769-9); revised, 2001 (ISBN 0-50009298-2).
  • John Virtue: New Paintings. Bristol: Arnolfini, 1995. ISBN 978-0-907738-41-1.
  • Paper Museum: Writings About Painting, Mostly. London: HarperCollins, 1996. ISBN 0-00-255557-3.
  • A History of British Art. London: BBC, 1996. ISBN 0-563-37044-0.
  • Renaissance. London: BBC, 1999. ISBN 0-563-38396-8.
  • In the Picture: The Year Through Art. London: Allen Lane, 2002. ISBN 978-0-7139-9675-3.
  • Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2008. ISBN 978-0-297-85365-7.
  • Caravaggio: A Life Sacred And Profane. London: Allen Lane, 2009. ISBN 978-0-7139-9674-6.

DVD releases[edit]

  • Art of Spain (2010)
  • Art of Germany (2011)
  • Art of China (2015)
  • Art of America (2014)
  • Italy Unpacked (2014)
  • Sicily Unpacked (2014)
  • Rome Unpacked (2018)


  1. ^ "Graham-Dixon, Anthony Philip, (5 Nov. 1929–6 March 2012), QC 1973". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U17825. ISBN 978-0-19-954089-1. 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. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Biography. Andrew Graham Dixon. Retrieved on 22 July 2016.
  20. ^ "BBC Four – Treasures of Heaven". BBC. Retrieved 20 June 2019.

External links[edit]