He was the son of a doctor and initially studied medicine. When he became twenty-one, in 1834, he decided to pursue a career in art and enrolled at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. After two years of study, he was awarded first prize for his work. He then went to Posen, where he briefly worked as a teacher. This was followed by study trips to Antwerp, Berlin and Munich, where he participated in an exhibition, then on to Rome. Several of his works were made into engravings.
When he returned to Dresden in the late 1840s, he was commissioned by the Sächsischer Kunstverein to create an altarpiece for the city of Schellenberg (now Augustusburg). He went on to create several more altarpieces, but the one he painted for the Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche in Falkenstein was destroyed in 1978 when the Pastor, Rolf Günther, committed suicide by self-immolation. In 1848, at the request of the banker, Martin Wilhelm Oppenheim, he oversaw the painting of murals at the Palais Kaskel-Oppenheim.
From 1857 to 1890, he was a Professor at the Dresden Academy. Among the many portraits he painted there, his most familiar is the one of King John of Saxony, which is on display at the Leipzig Town Hall. From 1875 to 1877, he created a ceiling painting in the vestibule on the south side of the Semperoper, depicting "Poetic Justice: with Heroes from Drama and Opera".
- "Das Fanal von Falkenstein" @ NS-DDR-Kirche Aufarbeitung.
- Gonne, Friedrich (1813-1906) @ dresden-und-sachsen.de
- Gonne, Friedrich, Maler Mittelbild: Die Poetische Gerechtigkeit mit Helden aus Drama und Oper, Deckenbild, zerstört Standort: Dresden, Semperoper Opernhaus, Oberes Vestibül der Südseite, Vestibül Wachsfarbe & Leinwand
- Foto von Philippine Gonne geb. Kaskel (Ehefrau des Malers Friedrich Gonne; 1813–1906), um 1865 in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (German Digital Library)
Media related to Friedrich Gonne at Wikimedia Commons