His father, Hans Konrad Gessner, was a printer, bookseller, publisher and member of the High Council, his mother was Esther Hirzel. Solomon lived from 1736 to his death in purchased of his father's house to Schwanen Münstergasse 9 in Zurich's low- village. 1749, he began an apprenticeship in a bookstore in Berlin, which he already broke again in 1750, and began to deal with the landscape painting and etching. After a short stay in Hamburg, where he was influenced by Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Hagedorn PeterRamler and he returned to his hometown.
Gessner's desire to work in his father's business, was low. He wanted a lot more drawing, painting, dense and with his friends enjoy life. He joined the Tuesdays - Compagnie, a group of about 20 young men from Zurich's leading families. The Association met every Tuesday to exchange ideas and social get-together, in the winter alternately in the homes and apartments of the parents in the summer in a club house out of town on a Rebgut in Selnau. Enthusiasm for nature captured the young aesthetes, based on the idyllic pastoral poetry of antiquity, they saw themselves as Sihl Shepherd.
It succeeded Gessner to make soon earned a reputation through his song to be a Swiss armed Girls (1751 ) and his painting The Night (1753 ). The idea for his major poem Daphnis (1754 ), he drew inspiration from Jacques Amyot's translation of Longos. The first collection of his idylls, which appeared simultaneously with his Inkel and yariko 1756, followed in 1758 his Death of Abel, a kind of idyllic epic poem in prose, and in 1762 a collection of his poems in four volumes. By painting held by the densities, he had only to appear in 1772, a second ribbon idylls and Letters on Landscape Painting.
In 1761 he co-founded the Helvetic Society and married against the wishes of his father Heidegger Judith, the daughter of the publisher and competitors Heidegger and the niece of the mayor Johann Konrad Heidegger. In the same year he became a partner of the company Orell & Co. in 1763 and artistic director of the porcelain and faience factory in Schooren in Kilchberg. His daughter Dorothea was a year later, was born, his son Conrad 1764. 1765, was in 1767 elected as a member of Salomon Gessner guild zur Meisen in the Grand Council of the City of Zurich in the small council. In 1768 he was elected Obervogt of Erlenbach. His son Henry was born. 1776, he was Obervogt to the four Wachten and Wipkingen.
From 1781 to his death Salomon Gessner was as " Sihlherr » top administrator of the Sihlwald forest, and is responsible for the supply of the city of Zurich with firewood. In the summer months he lived in still preserved forest home.
In his house at the Münstergasse 9 he received an illustrious group of visitors and guests; among other things, was in 1766 the artists Mozart family visited him.
In 1780 he founded the Zurich newspaper, from 1821, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung was.
Gessner's once vaunted idylls celebrated a golden age of undisturbed harmony, and although he relied on Theocritus, he was the Arcadian pastoral world of the Italian-French court poet of the 17th century used much closer. In landscape painting, he has earned lasting merits; his best works include twelve etched landscapes, which he published in 1770.
In the place Spitz facility at the confluence of the Sihl and Limmat him had been created by Alexander Trippel 1792/93 one of the first patriotic monuments in Switzerland. Similarly, the originally running up to the place Spitz Gessner Allee and was built in 1893 Gessner Bridge is named after him, which connects the barracks road with the Gessner Allee. In honor of his wife Judith Gessner Heidegger, the city council of Zurich named on 18 January 2006 a place at the Gessner Allee. A plaque in honor Gessner adorns his former residence at the Münstergasse 9 1788 today to SIGHTSEEING memorial stone on the south side of Klöntalersee was dedicated to him.
- Idylls. Zurich: . Gessner, 1756 ( digitized and full text in German Text Archive )
Gessner all writings published 1777-78 in Zurich ( 2 volumes, in a new edition, Leipzig, 1841, 2 volumes), and have also been translated into French ( Paris, 1786-93, 3 volumes, and often). His correspondence with his son appeared in Bern and Zurich 1801. Juliane Giovane translated the idylls into Italian.