Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1926, Youngerman studied art at the University of Missouri before going to Europe at age twenty-one. He spent the next nine years working in Paris, alongside Josef Albers and Ellsworth Kelly, and frequented the School of Beaux-Arts. He moved to New York in 1956 and exhibited his abstract geometric constructions at the Museum of Modern Art in 1959. Initially influenced by constructivism's precise geometry, Youngerman began simplifying his paintings even further, basing them on the sharp contrast between two forms. Along with Ellsworth Kelly, Youngerman pioneered a technique known as "hard edge," which was extremely influential in the creation of minimal and op art. He also worked on architectural projects in Lebanon and Iraq.