American writer, born in Fort Scott, Kansas. He studied at the University of Texas at Austin (BA, 1929), then at Yale (MA in the history of art, 1933), and after private study in Paris for several years taught at various colleges in the USA. During the Second World War he served in the marines. From 1953 to 1959 he was director of educational activities at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and from 1959 to 1977 he was art news editor for The New York Times. In this position he often attacked contemporary art, particularly Abstract Expressionism, and he became a controversial figure. In March 1961 a group of 49 artists, critics, dealers, and so on sent a joint letter to the Times deploring his writings, particularly his use of words such as ‘charlatan’ and ‘fraud’. Nonetheless, response to the incident, as reported in the newspaper, indicated considerable public support for Canaday. He was a noted gourmet and from 1974 worked as restaurant critic for the New York Times. He also wrote novels.