Šaloun studied in the studios of Tomáš Seidan and Bohuslav Schnirch, was involved as an artist in the Mánes Union of Fine Arts, This independent education allowed him to avoid the influence of Josef Václav Myslbek, looking instead to the work of Auguste Rodin. He was later admitted to the prestigious Czech Academy of Sciences in 1912 but never took training there. In 1927 he was appointed the civic artistic advisor for the city of Prague in 1927, and in 1946 was honored by being named a National Artist.
Šaloun worked on his Jan Hus Memorial on the Old Town Square in Prague for 15 years, from 1901 through 1915, and produced similar Hus monuments for the towns of Hořice (1911-1913) and Libáň (1925). His architectural sculpture for the Municipal House, finished in 1911, is one example of his collaborations with Czech architect Osvald Polívka. Šaloun's own 1909 house in Vinohrady is one of the outstanding proto-modernist buildings of its Prague district.
According to Cannon-Brooks, "From the beginning he was extremely prolific and his exceptional facility... led on occasion to a certain superficiality, for which he has been over-criticized."