The Scottish Collector Arthur Kay (1861-1939) and His Influence on the Canon of 17th-century Dutch Painting
Our notion of the 17th-century Dutch school of painting was shaped in the late 19th and early 20th-century by its first modern scholars. This is particularly true of Cornelis Hofstede de Groot, Wilhelm von Bode, and Abraham Bredius, who over the years received their due credit, however this effort was aided by many contemporary connoisseur-collectors who never got credit for their contribution. One of the leading among them was the Scottish collector Arthur Kay (1861-1939). This article highlights his dealings as a collector, adviser, and connoisseur and draws a clear picture of the early modern Dutch paintings that were at one time in his collection, brought in an attached critical checklist. This article shows that Arthur Kay had a significant influence on the shaping of the canon of 17th-century Dutch painting as we know it today. It furthermore serves as a case study to demonstrate the influence of other connoisseur-collectors.