Axel Salto was born in 1889 in Copenhagen. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and began a career in painting. After visiting Paris, where he met with Picasso and Matisse, he worked as the editor of Klingen, an art magazine that became a forum for the modernist movement in Denmark from 1917 to 1920.
Salto discovered ceramics when manufacturer Bing & Grøndahl commissioned his porcelain designs for the 1925 International Exhibition in Paris. From this time onward, his primary focus was on ceramic art. He worked as a designer at The Royal Porcelain factory in Copenhagen from 1933 until the 1950s. He received the Prince Eugen Medal in 1959, the Grand Prix at the Milan Triennial in 1951 and the Eckersberg Medal in 1938. His successes earned him a legacy as an influential master of 20th century ceramic art.