Jack Youngerman was born in 1926 in Webster Groves, Missouri. Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, he returned to his native Missouri for college at the University of Missouri, in Columbia. There, he majored in journalism, and also took his first drawing course.

After serving in the U.S. Navy in World War II, the G.I. Bill helped Youngerman continue his art education, at Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In Paris, Youngerman married a movie actress whose father was a scholar and diplomat, and who eventually became the director of the Musees de France. With these connections, Youngerman was introduced to a number of sculptors living in Paris at the time, including Constantin Brancusi, Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, and Ellsworth Kelly.

Youngerman's work is included in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh; the Museum of Fine Art, Houston; the Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York; the List Visual Arts Center at MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.