Born in London in 1960, Andrew Graham-Dixon is one of the leading art critics and presenters of arts television in the English-speaking world. He has presented numerous landmark series on art for the BBC, including the acclaimed A History of British Art, Renaissance and Art of Eternity, as well as numerous individual documentaries on art and artists. For more than twenty years he has published a weekly column on art, first in the Independent and, more recently, in the Sunday Telegraph. He has written a number of acclaimed books, on subjects ranging from medieval painting and sculpture to the art of the present.
He has a long history of public service in the field of the visual arts, having judged the Turner Prize, the BP National Portrait Prize and the Annual British Animation Awards, among many other prizes. He has served on the Government Art Collection Committee, the Hayward Advisory Committee, and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.
In the course of his career, Andrew has won numerous awards for writing and broadcasting and his achievements have been acclaimed by many of his most distinguished peers.
Andrew was educated at Westminster School before winning a scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford University, where he studied English Language and Literature (1978-81), graduating with a Double First. He pursued postgraduate studies at the Courtauld Institute of Art from 1982.
In 1986, at the age of 25, Andrew Graham-Dixon was appointed Chief Art Critic of the Independent, a post in which 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. In 1991, he won the inaugural Hawthornden Prize for Art Criticism. Andrew was a contributing editor of Vogue (1986-2006) and Chief Art Correspondent for Talk magazine in New York (2003- 2005). He has contributed to The New Yorker, Apollo and numerous other publications.
Since 1999 he has been the Chief Art Correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph, writing reviews as well as the popular weekly column “In the Picture”. “In the Picture” ran for five years, between 2001 and 2006, and an anthology from it was published by Penguin Books in 2005 under the title In the Picture: The Year Through Art.
In 1991, Andrew began his long collaboration with the BBC, in the course of which he has written and presented more than thirty documentaries about the visual arts.
His first programme, The Billboard Project of 1992, brought such artists as Damien Hirst, Michael Landy and Rachel Whiteread to the attention of television audiences. His second, The Raft of the Medusa, a study of Theodore Gericault’s Romantic masterpiece, was awarded First Prize in the Reportage Section of the Montreal International Film and Television Festival of 1992.
Following on from those projects, Andrew spent three years (1992-5) devising, writing and presenting the six-part series A History of British Art. “Brilliant,” wrote Roy Hattersley, “the line between education and art not so much blurred as obliterated.” For A.A. Gill, it “ranks with Civilisation and John Berger’s Ways of Seeing as one of the great expositions on the nature and meaning of art.” In response to the arguments advanced in the series, about the strength and importance of medieval traditions within British art, the Tate Gallery in London altered the chronological parameters within which its collection operates, to include the centuries before 1530. The series was nominated for both BAFTA and RTS awards.
A History of British Art was followed by a film biography of Hogarth, Hogarth’s Progress (1996) and subsequently by another landmark 6-part series (1996-9), Renaissance, which was also nominated for an RTS award.
Andrew then wrote and presented the flagship programme for another BBC series, Art That Shook the World, a study of the origins of Impressionism entitled Monet’s Impression Sunrise (2001). This was followed by the Secret Lives of the Artists (2002), three films re-evaluating the lives and the works of three great artists, in the light of new forensic and historical discoveries: Who Killed Caravaggio?; The Madness of Johannes Vermeer and Constable in Love.
Single documentaries have included 1000 Ways of Getting Drunk in England (2003), a study of the life and times of the great nineteenth-century graphic satirist and sometime teetotaller, George Cruikshank; The Elgin Marbles (2002), a ninety-minute drama-documentary examining the troubled history of Phidias’s celebrated frieze for the Parthenon; and I, Samurai (2006) , a journey into the distant past of Japanese art and culture. Andrew has also presented documentaries about Jasper Johns, Max Beckman, Lucian Freud, Tamara de Lempicka and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
In 2006, he presented the acclaimed 4-part series The Secret of Drawing, produced for the BBC by leading independent producers Oxford Films. In 2007, he presented a groundbreaking 3-part series about early Christian art, The Art of Eternity, which was long-listed for a Grierson Award.
The Art of Spain, the first ever television series to be made about one of the great traditions of European art history, was shown on BBC2 and BBC4 in the early part of 2008. Followed by The Art of Russia shown on BBC4 in 2009.
The Art of Germany, is another three part series and was shown on BBC4 in November 2010.
Petworth House: The Big Spring Clean, where Andrew went behind the scenes at one of Britain's most beautiful stately homes, spending a winter working with the National Trust's conservation team was recently shown on BBC4.
Andrew’s first independent film made in conjunction with Daniel Katz Gallery, I Never Tell Anybody Anything: The Life and Art of Edward Burra was shown on BBC4 at 10pm on 24th October, with a snippet being previewed on BBC2 Culture Show on 21st October.
Andrew's latest project for television, Art of America was show on BBC4 in November 2011.
Since 2006, Andrew has been the face of the visual arts on BBC2’s flagship cultural programme, The Culture Show. He is a regular contributor to BBC Radio and the World Service.
Andrew has also worked as a broadcaster outside the field of the arts. He presented 100 Per Cent English, a controversial and frequently hilarious examination of the politics and DNA of race in England. The film, produced by the respected independent production company Wall to Wall, was shown on Channel 4 in 2007.
Andrew Graham-Dixon has written a number of books about art and artists. His earliest book, Howard Hodgkin (1993), was the first monograph on one of the leading painters of today. It was followed by A History of British Art (1995), Paper Museum (1995), an anthology of articles published in the Independent, a book about the Renaissance (1999) and In the Picture (2005), an anthology of articles published between 2001 and 2006 in the Sunday Telegraph.
In the spring of 2007, Weidenfeld and Nicholson published Andrew's book entitled Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, a major study of one of the world’s greatest works of art and its creator.
Andrew most recent book is a biography of Caravaggio. Published by Penguin Books in July 2010, it was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction and has recently been released in America, published by Norton.
Andrew Graham-Dixon has served on the Hayward Gallery Advisory Committee (1992-5) and on the Government Art Collection Committee (1992-6). He has been a trustee of the Baltic Centre of Contemporary Art since 2005. He judged the Turner Prize in 1991.
Other aspects of work
Andrew enjoys lecturing on art and artists, both in Britain and abroad. He will be delivering the Annual Lecture for the Friends of the Barber Institute in 2008, as well as addressing the Friends of the Oriel Mostyn Gallery in Cardiff and the Friends of the V&A in London. He is currently embarking on a tour of lectures in association with his recently released book Caravaggio A Life Sacred and Profane.
In addition to these activities, Andrew Graham-Dixon has also organised and presented guided cultural trips abroad – in particular, to Venice, Florence, Rome and Barcelona. He also offers an advisory service, to a strictly limited number of private clients, on art collecting and how to negotiate the vagaries of the art market.
Personal life and hobbies
Andrew has three children and lives in Sussex. A keen footballer in his schooldays, he was selected to play for the All-England Public and Grammar Schools XI in 1977. He went on to captain the Old Westminster Football team for many years. Nowadays his sporting activities are mostly restricted to skiing, swimming and golf. He is a member of one of London’s oldest (and friendliest) golf clubs, the Muswell Hill Golf Club. He collects art and also fine wine, particularly bordeaux.
Andrew Graham-Dixon can be contacted through the Contact Page on this website.