Putz was born in Merano, at that time in Austria-Hungary, moving with his family to Munich as a boy. He studied at the Munich Academy, and from 1891-92 at the Académie Julian in Paris under William Bouguereau and Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant. Despite his academic training, Putz was far more interested in the avant-garde subjects and impressionistic forms of expression being pioneered by his contemporaries, particularly Gauguin and Renoir, which would inform his own work.
On his return to Munich, Putz exhibited at the Munich Secession in 1895 alongside Franz von Stuck and with Franz Erler formed the avant garde artistic group Die Scholle. He went on to become a Secessionist in Berlin and Vienna, where Gustav Klimt's figural painting had a profound influence on his work.
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