Born in Pennsylvania, Helen Khal was an artist and art critic of Lebanese descent, who moved to Lebanon early in her career. She began working as an artist at age 21, primarily as a portraitist before developing an ethereal style that showcased her mastery of light and color, painting hazy, atmospheric, and semi-abstract landscapes.
These intimate works are from Khal’s 1970s period while teaching painting at the American University of Beirut. In addition to her visual art practice, Khal established Gallery One in cosmopolitan Ras Beirut in 1963 and forged close relationships with Huguette Caland and other key artists, making her an influential member of Beirut’s arts scene in the 60s and 70s. She was also one of the city’s leading art critics, regularly contributing to local English newspapers.
Khal held solo exhibitions at Galerie Trois Feuilles d'Or, Beirut (1965); Galerie Manoug, Beirut (1968); at the First National Bank, Allentown, Pennsylvania (1969); in Kaslik, Lebanon (1970); at the Contact Art Gallery, Beirut (1972, 1974 and 1975) and at the Bolivar Gallery in Kingston, Jamaica in 1975. Her work appeared in the Biennales of Alexandria and São Paulo. She established and directed Lebanon's first permanent art gallery, Gallery One, in 1963 and became a key figure in Lebanon’s art scene. Khal began her studies in 1946 at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, ALBA, under celebrated Lebanese painter Cesar Gemayel, and then at the Art Students League, in New York.