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Helen Khal

American, 1923-2009


Curating Works


Helen Khal was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1923 and she grew up in a Lebanese family. In 1946, she went to live in Lebanon for two years, studying painting at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts in Beirut, and meeting the artists Shafic Abboud, Yvette Achkar, and sculptor Michel Basbous. She was married to the poet Yusuf al-Khal; she continued her art studies at the Art Students League in New York, but it was not until 1960 that she had her first exhibition at the Galerie Alecco Saab in Beirut. Her style became increasingly expressionist and emotional following the deaths of her mother and brother. In 1963, she co-founded Gallery One, the first gallery of its kind not only in Lebanon but in the entire eastern Arab region. She became a teacher at the American University of Beirut and an art critic for the Daily Star and Monday Morning. In 1987, she authored the influential book, The Woman Artist in Lebanon. She returned to Lebanon in the 1990s where she continued to write art criticism. Her works are in the National Museum of Woman in the Arts, Whitechapel Gallery, Nicolas Sursock Museum, Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Nabu Museum, Emile Hannouche Museum, and many other important collections.