An American of Lebanese descent, Helen Khal was born in Pennsylvania, USA, and began painting only at the age of twenty-one. In 1946, she went to Lebanon and lived there for twenty-five years. Soon after her arrival in Beirut, she enrolled at ALBA and remained there until 1948. During those years, she met and married the young Lebanese poet, Yusuf Al Khal. In 1949 she studied at the Arts Students League in New York. In 1963, she established and directed Lebanon's first permanent art gallery, Gallery One.
Encouraged by the Lebanese artist Aref Rayess and others, Helen Khal held her first individual exhibition in 1960 in Galerie Alecco Saab in Beirut. Her other one-women shows took place 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 also appeared in the Biennales of Alexandria and Sao Paulo.
From 1966 to 1974, Helen Khal was Art Critic to two Lebanese periodicals, The Daily Star and Monday Morning. She taught at AUB between 1967 and 1976. She also wrote a number of publications in the Middle East and the USA and frequently lectured on art.
Her book The Woman Artist in Lebanon was first published in 1987 and was made possible through a grant in 1975 from the Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World.
Helen Khal lived in Washington where she was publications consultant to the Jordan Information Bureau. She continues to write and to paint.
She was living in Lebanon when in May 2009 she passed away.