Fernande Barrey about 1908 left her native Picardy to Paris, where she began to make a living as a prostitute. She then became the model for many painters and photographers, including Jean Agélou, Amedeo Modigliani and Chaim Soutine, who persuaded her to study painting and art history at the School of Fine Arts.
In March 1917, she met the Japanese artist Tsuguharu Foujita at at the Cafe La Rotonde Montparnasse, who fell madly in love with her and married her thirteen days later. In 1918 the couple moved to escape the German bombs to Cagnes-sur-Mer, where she spent a year painting and meeting many friends. During this period, she became friends with Jeanne Hébuterne, the bride of Modigliani. When he died of tuberculosis in 1920, she tried in vain to console her, but Jeanne, eight months pregnant, committed suicide.
During the year 1925, the couple led a very open relationship, both having relations with people of both sexes. The painter did not forgive Fernande after she had a love affair with his cousin, Koyanagi, a painter. He then locked himself with the Belgian artist Lucie Badoul (called Youki) for three days during which Fernande desperately sought her husband in the Parisian morgues. In 1928, the couple divorced and she lived with Koyanagi in Montmartre. When Koyanagi was separated himself in 1935, his relationship with Tsugouharu Foujita improved; he helped her financially until her death.
Not everyone agrees on the story Miss Fernande being Fernande Berray, I see so many simularities that for know I go along with the story that Miss Fernande and Miss Berray are the same.