good fortune is a cage and a canary
Fernande Barrey regularly took her coffee at the Dome, a café in
Montparnasse. In 1917, she met Tsuguharu Foujita.
(photo credit: Tsuguharu with lover: Louci Badoul who he called Youki or “rose snow”)
She was 25, with laughing eyes, short hair, a turned-up nose, and slangy Parisian speech, her accent being
Picardy. For Foujita, it was love at first sight, but she was not impressed by the unusual Japanese man with earrings and strange clothing. He rose and approached her, bowed ceremoniously. They exchanged a few words, he paid her compliments about her dress. He then retreated.Foujita had a gift of making dresses from nothing. He spent that night sewing a blue blouse for Fernande and brought it to her room in the morning. Foujita complained of the coldness of Fernande’s room and as she did not want to appear lacking in generosity herself, after Foujita’s wonderful handmade gift, Fernande picked up a hatchet and hacked up the only chair she owned to provide him with some firewood.They married several days later, on March, 27th, 1917 at the town hall of the 14th Arrondissement. Foujita borrowed the 6 francs needed to publish the wedding banns from a waiter at the Rotonde, whom he reimbursed by painting a portrait of his wife.Fernande gave up her own artistic activities to devote herself to her husband’s career. A few weeks after their marriage, story has it that she left home with a portfolio of drawings under her arm. She walked to the right bank, where most of the art dealers operated. Caught in an unexpected downpour, she went into Cheron’s, a very well-known art dealer, offering him two watercolors in exchange for an umbrella. She returned to Montparnasse without having sold a thing. But she had won over Cheron. For after he had studied the watercolors attentively, the dealer crossed the Seine to the rue Delambre. He asked who this artist was and where he kept his works. He bought everything he saw, providing some welcome security for the young couple: seven francs fifty for each watercolor, as a minimum, and four hundred fifty francs for a month’s production. To celebrate their good fortune, Foujita gave his wife a cage and a canary.t that night sewing a blue blouse for Fernande and brought it to her room in the morning. Foujita complained of the coldness of Fernande’s room and as she did not want to