Professor of art history, University of Virginia, 1938-1950; chief art critic (and anti-modernist) for the New York Times during the period of abstract expressionism. Canaday was the son of Franklin Canaday and Agnes Musson (Canaday). His father was a Kansas attorney. The younger Canaday moved to Texas with his family at age seven. He attended the University of Texas in Austin, receiving his B.A. in 1925. His M.A. was granted from Yale University in 1932. He married Katherine Hoover in 1935. Between 1938-1950 he taught art history at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.