Paul Keene was born in Philadelphia in 1920. He made his first prints in 1939 with the National Youth Administration in, a work study program of the WPA. He also studied at the Philadelphia Museum of School of Art with Robert Riggs. In 1941, he enlisted in the army, attaining the rank of lieutenant and served with the Tuskegee Airmen in the 332nd Fighter Group. He received his BFA in 1947 and an MFA in 1948 from the Tyler School of Fine Art. With GI Bill funds he studied at the Academie Julian in Paris, and later became part of the expatriate collective, Gallery Huit. He exhibited with Picasso and Leger at the Salon de Mai, Paris. 1951 & 53 John Hay Whitney Fellowships allowed him to direct courses at the Centre D'Art, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. From 1964 to 1968 he taught at the Philadelphia College of Art; from 1968 through 1985 at the Bucks County Community College.
Keene died at home in Warrington, PA in 2009.