Seymour Boardman majored in art at City College of New York in 1938-1942. He served in the United States Air Force from 1942–1946, during which he was hospitalized for over a year due to a wound to his left shoulder, which resulted in partial paralysis of the arm and hand.
After a full medical discharge from the service in 1946, he left for Paris to continue his art education at the École des Beaux-Arts, Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and Atelier Fernand Léger. Boardman's work became more abstract but still based on figure and landscape. He returned to New York in 1949 and went to the Art Students League. Boardman continued to paint dark, moody paintings using a limited palette of black, white, grey, and an occasional additional color. Departed Le Havre France on the Liberte, arriving with his wife in New York on Jan. 22, 1952. In 1955, he had his first one-man show in New York at the Martha Jackson Gallery. It was favorably reviewed by Hilton Kramer, Emily Genauer, Fairfield Porter, and others. "…inscrutable, dark, mostly in blacks stained here and there with calm whitish shapes, they yet manage to suggest something inhuman and romantic…" (N.Y.Times, March 26, 1955). He began to acquire recognition in the 1950s with his paintings of griddled facets seen as if through a frosted glass, without any crisp lines, and in bright colors favoring reds. Boardman's friends included Lawrence Calcagno, Perez Celis, John Hultberg, Burt Hasen, Frank Lobdell, Richards Ruben, Robert Ryman and Nassos Daphnis.
Throughout the 1960s, Boardman showed at both the Stephen Radich Gallery and the A.M. Sachs Gallery; in 1967, The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Guggenheim Museum acquired a painting each. In the early 1970s Boardman had a large exhibition of paintings at the Andrew Dickson White Museum of Art, (currently Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art), Cornell University, Albany, NY. Thomas Levitt, the Director, wrote in the catalogue, "…Seymour Boardman has gradually eliminated the arbitrary aspects of his work until only straight lines and two or three areas of flat, usually somber, tones remain…" This accurately describes the paintings of that period. He continued to work that way during the 1970s.
Since the mid-1980s, Boardman has exhibited his work at the Anita Shapolsky Gallery in several one-person and group shows. The paintings have changed, no longer using acrylic, and returning to oil paint and a more painterly surface. In 1992, Boardman had an important one-person show at the Anderson Gallery in Buffalo, N.Y., and in 1999, a two-person show at the Shapolsky Gallery with the late Richards Ruben. Seymour Boardman died on October 3, 2005 at the age of age 84. Interest in his work continues grow, and in 2010 Anita Shapolsky Gallery presented the exhibition Modern Sensibilities: Ernest Briggs & Seymour Boardman.