Noah Landau was born in London in 1936 into a family of Lithuanian and Russian Jews. This extended family included several professional portrait painters, his mother being one of these. His father was also a painter. Landau followed his brother to the Slade School of Fine Art where he won the Slade Open Prize with a portrait.
In Paris he studied etching and engraving with S.W. Hayter (who taught print-making to Picasso) and later worked with the Israeli stone carver Shamai Haber. Landau worked in London as a technical assistant to the sculptor and bronze-caster Kenneth Armitage. He exhibited mainly sculpture, but also etchings and working drawings at the Redfern Gallery, Bond Street London, in the days when this gallery was directed by the New Zealander Rex Nankervel. He taught for several years as year tutor at Bristol University College of Art, and later at Bristol Polytechnic.
For over 17 years Landau was living in New Zealand where he helped to set up Northland Polytechnic's first Fine Arts Department (under Doug Chowns). He then worked as senior tutor and director of studies at Hungry Creek Private Polytechnic. In his final days he worked from a studio in the Wairarapa, where he produced painting, print-making and woodcarving.