The landscape painter, illustrator, and etcher Friedrich Salathé was born on January 11, 1793 in Binningen near Basle. From 1807–10, he was a student of the Swiss painter Peter Birmann (1758-1844). Friedrich Salathé had a strong friendship with the latter’s son, the landscape painter Samuel Birmann (1793–1847). Together with Jakob Christoph Bischoff (1793–1825), the two travelled to draw in Central Switzerland, Graubünden, and the Upper Italian lakes in 1814. This was followed in 1815 by a journey to Rome spanning several years that the artists took with his two friends.
Friedrich Salathé spent the winter months in Rome and the summer months in the surrounding mountains. In 1817, he took a trip to Naples from Rome. The artist drew in Ariccia and Terni with Samuel Amsler (1791–1849) and Johann Christian Reinhart (1761–1847) during the following summer.
In 1819, he participated in the group exhibition at Palazzo Caffarelli and was abducted that year from the villa of the Baron Karl Friedrich von Rumohr (1785–1843) in Olevano. Among others, Friedrich Salathé associated with the German artists Joseph Anton Koch (1768–1839) and Carl Vogel von Vogelstein (1788–1868) and the art historian Johann David Passavant (1787–1861) in Italy.
In 1821, the artist returned to his home town of Binningen. In Basle, he worked as a vedute engraver for the firm of Falkeisen and Huber. Starting in January 1823, Friedrich Salathé lived in Paris until the end of his life.
He worked for the publisher Jean Frédéric Osterwald as an aquatint etcher here. In connection with his participation in the Swiss art exhibition in Bern, he went to Switzerland in 1834, 1836, and 1848. In addition, Salathé travelled to Wörlitz and Dessau in 1845. Although he earned his living with printed graphic works, he also continued to paint and draw. In 1841, the artist exhibited two aquatints at the Paris Salon.
Friedrich Salathé died on May 12, 1858 in Paris.