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 and other independents. He has a long history of public service in the field of the visual arts and served various committees and is currently a member of the board of 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.
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Andrew 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 also lectures on art and artists. both in Britain and abroad See Public Talks for more information.
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.
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.
Andrew takes photographs, often while travelling the world while filming. Discussions are under way for an exhibition of the pictures but nothing concrete has been planned as yet.
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 a hundred long- and short-form 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.”
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.
These were followed, by The Art of Germany, The Art of America, and the Art of France.
Andrew’s first independent films, made in conjunction with Daniel Katz Gallery, were collectively entitled The Artists of War, and examined the lives and work of Edward Burra, Paul Nash, Walter Richard Sickert and David Bomberg. They have been shown several times on BBC television and, like all of Andrew’s other big series, around the world.
Petworth House: The Big Spring Clean, was a very different type of project, in which 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.
From 2006 to 2016, Andrew was the face of the visual arts on BBC2’s flagship cultural programme, The Culture Show. He is also 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.
In collaboration with his great friend, the Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli, Andrew has made 5 series of films exploring the art and food of the many regions of Italy, entitled Italy Unpacked.
Andrew’s most recent project was a (relatively) straight exercise in art history, a four-part study of Britain’s Royal Collection, entitled Art, Passion and Politics, and shown on the BBC in January 2018.
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.