"André Cottavoz was born on July 22nd, 1922, in Saint Marcellin in Isère, first child of the young Marguerite (she is hardly 18 years old then) and of her husband Paul Cottavoz. André, called « Doudou » by his grandmother (nickname that he will assume all his life) expresses his passion for painting as soon as he is a teenager. Indeed, he is 14 when his mother surprises him copying a landscape from the « Illustration » gazette. Practicing herself watercolour, she encourages him in this way, buys colors to him and takes him to paint in the nature with her.She gives him a precious advice which he will never forget : « Paint what you like, a bridge, a tree, a reflection on the water and forget the rest. » He also benefits from Michel Gaudet’s advice, a friend of Renoir living in the area, and regularly works « sur le motif » (from nature) with him, to the great displeasure of his father opposed to a future career as an artist.
In 1942, he is obliged to spend two years in the “STO” (forced labour services) in Austria. There, he carried on painting and drawing. He met a talented young artist, the humorist Paul Philibert Charrin. This latter straight away recognizes him as a master and dedicates him an admiration that, according to Frédéric Dard, will become detrimental to his own career. They organize exhibitions of their works together. These pieces unfortunately will be destroyed or lost because of the war.
In 1946, he exhibits a sight of Paris at the « salon of the young painting », La place d’Ivry which will make him recognized as a rather wellknown figurative painter in the line of Bonnard.
The same year, is held the first salon of non-figuration painting called « les Réalités Nouvelles ». At that time, being qualified of « Bonnardish » painter, is a true disavowal, because times are not ideal for figurative painting. However, faithful to himself, Cottavoz refuses any fashion influences or labels and is more than ever obstinate by his own way of painting, as close as possible to “his own emotion”, will he entrust to Jacques Zeitoun later on.
At last, it should be noted that in 2005, the municipality offered to the painter (discreet citizen of Vallauris for nearly 50 years), already rewarded by the Knight of Arts and Letters Academy and internationally recognized, a major retrospective of his entire work at the Magnelli Museum of the city."(andre.cottavoz.com)