On Thursday, Oct. 20, Japanese-born artist Samizu Matsuki will travel from her Midcoast home to New York City, where she will join several other women, the survivors of a small select group of artists who first broke the gender barrier of the famous Salmagundi Art Club in 1973.

The event Pioneer Women: First Ladies of Salmagundi Club will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lower Gallery of the Salmagundi Art Club, 47 Fifth Ave. Works of these women will be exhibited there from Oct. 16 to the 28.

A proud bastion of artistic realism, the Salmagundi Club is commemorating Matsuki and the other women who remain from those first women chosen for their realistic art achievements into this previously male-only painters refuge. Matsuki’s significance was in her returning the techniques of Western classical realism painting, as refined by Japanese art schools since the 19th century, back to the West. She is a 1958 graduate of Joshibi University, Tokyo, which was then called National Women’s College of Fine Arts, where she studied under painter Setsuko Migishi.

Her magical realism paintings, entered to some of the great art competitions of the time in defiance of the then prevailing American fixation on abstract expressionism, won her the Gold Medal at the 1970 First New York International Art Show;  the Grand Prix at the 1971 Locust Valley Art Show; and the Award of Excellence at the Abraham & Straus-Hempstead Art Show; and electrified enormous crowds who flocked to her exhibited works at those venues.

Matsuki’s meteoric flash of awards was short lived. Failing health, including a spinal injury, at end of the 1970s cut short her career. However, her work played a subtle yet critical role in re-affirming the legitimacy of realistic oil painting as high art in the American painting scene. For more information about the artist, visit samizu.com and her Wikipedia page.

Matsuki is of very limited means and hopes to raise $1,000 to defray and reimburse travel expenses for her and two of her paintings to receive this honor. To visit a fundraising page set up for her, visit tinyurl.com/samizu-kickstarter.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to dernest@villagesoup.com.