Cottavoz began his artistic training at the Lyon Fine Arts school in 1939 and by 1945 was widely established across France. Influenced by Pierre Bonnard, Cottavoz was devoted to light, using think pigment and pastel tint to create natural shadows on his paintings. Since 1950, he has been called the New Figuration of School of Lyon or Sanzisme along with J. Fusaro, P. Philibert-Charrin, and J. Truphémus. In 1953, Cottavoz received the Fénéon Price and has exhibited at the Prix National de Peinture and Biennale de Menton. Today his work is widely collected and housed in many notable collections including the Center Pompidou, Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Yamagata Museum of Art, and the Yung-Tu Museum of Art in Taiwan.