Born in Lebanon, Nahas spent his formative years in Cairo and Beirut. He attended university in the United States, earning a BFA from Louisiana State University in 1971 and an MFA from Yale University in 1973. Encounters with contemporary painters at Yale influenced Nahas to move to New York after graduation. Nabil Nahas currently lives and works in New York but still spends significant amounts of time in his native Lebanon. Nahas has exhibited extensively in the United States and abroad over the last three decades. 2010 marked Nahas' first major museum retrospective at the Beirut Exhibition Center. His work is included in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the British Museum, London, amongst other international institutions. In 2013 Nahas was awarded the National Order of the Cedar, for services to Lebanese culture, an honour rarely bestowed to visual artists.