Jean-David Jumeau-Lafond was born in Paris and studied art history in Clermont-Ferrand and Paris universities. His interest in contemporary art led him to take part in various publications and exhibitions in this field and organized several artistic events in support of young artists and art publishing.
His main and enduring interest, however, has been art at the end of the 19th century, with a particular emphasis on the Symbolist movement. Being personally related to Carlos Schwabe (1866-1926), painter and illustrator, mystical artist, and also one of the emblematic figures of fin-de-siècle Paris (Schwabe, who was a friend of Rodin and Vincent d'Indy, illustrated books by Mallarmé, Zola, Maeterlinck, Baudelaire, Samain), Jean-David Jumeau-Lafond carried out for twenty years a thorough research on artist Carlos Schwabe, whose outcome was the first comprehensive monograph ever on Schwabe, (a book published with the support of the Swiss foundation Pro Helvetia ).
His doctoral thesis (with distinction), which included the reasoned catalogue of Schwabe's works, was defended in 1994.
His publications include many articles on Schwabe and his time, but also on the relations between the plastic arts and music.
He has written abundantly in catalogues for museum exhibitions in Paris, Geneva, Brussels, Otterlo, Mexico, Tokyo, Budapest, Toronto, Montréal, Ottawa, Rovigo, London, New York... He was appointed Curator with Rodolphe Rapetti of the exhibition of the works of Carlos Schwabe arranged in Paris at the Musée d'Orsay in 1994. He was General Curator of the exhibition Les Peintres de l'âme, le Symbolisme idéaliste en France (Painters of the soul, the idealistic symbolism in France)(Bruxelles, Madrid, Paris, Salzburg, Chemnitz, 1999-2001) and author of the book of the exhibition : the first comprehensive publication about this artistic movement with, for the first time a specific section devoted to the symbolist landscape. The exhibition whas presented in five museums in Japan from april to november 2003, in Danemark from september to november 2004 and in Finland (Tampere) from november 2006 to mars 2007. For this station, the first english translation of the catalogue was published and dedicated to the memory of professor Robert Rosenblum : Painters of the soul. Open by the french Ambassador, it was the "largest exhibition of French Art ever organized in Finland". The exhibition was presented in Netherland, at the Singer Foundation in Laren in 2007/2008.
Jean-David Jumeau-Lafond was also curator of the exhibition Un pais ideal (The french idealistic symbolist landscape) in Spain and Catalogna (Museums of Pampelona and Girona) in 2006. The exhibition was presented in Sardinia (Nuoro's Museum) in summer 2007 : Il Luogo Ideale.
Jean-David Jumeau-Lafond was curator of the exhibition "Alexandre Séon (1855-1917) the ideal beauty" organized by the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper (june-september 2015) and the Musée d'Art et d'Archéologie de Valence (november 2015- february 2016) with the edition of the first comprehensive publication about the artist.
After devoting a chapter of his thesis in 1994 to Carlos Schwabe's relations with the Countess of Béarn (Martine de Béhague), patron of the artist, J.-D. Jumeau-Lafond worked from 2011 for ten years on an exhibition project devoted to this high figure of the Parisian world (for the Center des Monuments Nationaux then for the Louvre museum) before this project, abandoned, became a book (Flammarion, 2022).
He is currently engaged in collecting Schwabe's letters, in publishing his research about the symbolist artists Jeanne Jacquemin (1863-1938) and Charles-Marie Dulac, and in endeavors to contribute to a better understanding of Symbolism. He is contributor to La Tribune de l'art. His other projects concern the history of art and musicography. Jean-David Jumeau-Lafond, who regularly sits on doctoral juries as a guest specialist, is a member of the Société des Gens de Lettres, the Société de l'Histoire de l'Art français the Union Française des Experts and the Syndicat de la Presse artistique française. In 1996, he was made a "Chevalier" of the "Order of Arts and Letters" by the french "Ministre de la culture".