Joseph Amadeus Fleck was born in Austro-Hungary in 1892. He studied at the Institute of Applied Arts in Vienna, where he studied lithography, etching and engraving. Later, Fleck enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where he studied under Hans Tichi and Rudolph Bacher who were members of the Austrian Sucession Group that included Gustav Klimt.
In 1914 Fleck was drafted into the Army and a year later deployed to the Italian front. Luckily for him, his artistic skills earned him an unofficial position as the regimental artist and was later given a position painting patriotic images and portraits of notable government and military figures. Several years later, Fleck emigrated to the United States.
In 1924, after arriving in Kansas City two years prior, Fleck saw an exhibition by the Taos Society of Artists. An ode to the beauty of New Mexico and its inhabitants by a group of classically trained artists, moved Fleck to visit Taos in the summer of that year. One year later, Fleck moved to Taos and would live there full time through 1973. His painting style transformed from fairly stiff and academic, to something more impressionistic in nature. He painted landscapes, portraits and life scenes of the Indians of the region, using oil paints and pastels.