Andrew Graham-Dixon bigraphy, stories - British art historian, presenter

Andrew Graham-Dixon : biography

26 December 1960 -

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

Life and work


Graham-Dixon is son of the barrister Anthony Graham-Dixon and 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 carried on his education at Christ Church at the University of 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 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.

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 several BBC documentary series on art, including A History of British Art (1996), Renaissance (1999), Caravaggio (2002) The Secret of Drawing (2005), The Battle for British Art (2007), The Art of Eternity (2007), The Art of Spain (2008), The Art of Russia (2009), The Art of Germany (2010) and Art of America (2011).

He has also presented programmes on subjects other than art, such as I, Samurai (2006) 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 Limited.

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.

He was also invited to give a 20 minute lecture as the guest speaker at the Simon Langton Boys School Commemoration Service in May 2012.

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.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.

Personal life and family

Graham-Dixon is married, with three children; he lives in London. He speaks fluent Italian.

List of credits

Film and television
Year Title Notes
1992 The|Billboard Project}}
1992 The|Raft of the Medusa|The Raft of the Medusa (documentary)}} First Prize in the Reportage Section of theMontreal International Film and Television Festival
1996 A|History of British Art}} Six-part seriesNominated for BAFTA and RTS awards
1996 Hogarth's Progress
1999 Renaissance Six-part seriesNominated 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 Vasari
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 The|Art of Eternity}} Three-part series on Christian artLong-listed for Grierson Award
2008 The|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.
2009 Art of Russia Three-part series
2010 Art of Germany Three-part series
2011 id=b012248j|title=Treasures of Heaven}} 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 Three part series presented with Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.
2013 The High Art of the Low Countries Three-part series
Living octopus

Living octopus

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