Born in Belgium, Bourguignon began his art studies in Brussels' Académie des Beaux Arts and then studied art history at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. His first solo exhibition was at the Galérie d'Egmont in Brussels at age 22.
As an art critic, journalist, and skilled photographer, the artist traveled widely through France, Spain, and Italy, North Africa, Corsica, and Yugoslavia. He lived in Peru and later Haiti, where he met his wife, Erika, a renowned anthropologist. The couple settled in Columbus, Ohio in 1950 after Erika joined the faculty of The Ohio State University.
During his long and prolific life, Bourguignon amassed a large and varied group of paintings—early gouaches and later acrylics—and numerous pencil, pastel and ink-wash drawings. Many of the gouache paintings from the 1950s and 1960s depict tranquil landscapes, rich cultural interpretations and evocative portraits, figures, and genre scenes that were derived from his travels. In the 1970s, his landscapes and figural scenes took new directions and became less specifically descriptive. The works were expressionistic, often with whimsical, vulnerable, or tragic figures revealed in delightfully complex interactions of brushstrokes and texture.