Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

The road to . . . where?

The Artdog Image of Interest

This artwork was published in The Etude, a music publication, in 1913. It came from by the National Cash Register Company and was created as a motivational poster. As quoted in the Gallivance post, according to Ken Jennings in Mapheadit was “one of the most popular illustrations of the 1910s.”

Looking at the details of the piece (helpfully provided by Gallivance), I’m sure any creative or business entrepreneur will recognize distractions and pitfalls along the way to a successful career. They’re just as troublesome now as they were 100 years ago. Whether any single “Right System” will get you where you want to go, however, is a bit of a question.

I’m not sure we’re all equally eager to achieve the Shining Lyre of Success on the hilltop, but seriously. Who doesn’t want to be successful? 

Nobody I know is willing to say they don’t want success–but the answers tend to diverge when you ask how people define success. We can’t all be standout athletes, business tycoons, movie stars, bestselling authors, virtuoso musicians, or any other high-profile performer in our careers.

Thank goodness, success isn’t always about being high-profile. It isn’t necessarily about being wealthy, and it isn’t necessarily about being famous. There are a great many people who really don’t want those things, yet who still have what they consider to be successful lives.

Perhaps it’s fitting, then, to end this post with a quote from another musical source, the Boston Philharmonic’s Benjamin Zander (who, we might note, also has achieved some of those other hallmarks of success . . . by avoiding some of the very pitfalls we looked at above).

IMAGES: Many thanks to Gallivance, for this artwork, both the full image and the details, which was created by an artist whose name I haven’t managed to track down. I also owe thanks to AZ Quotes, for Boston Philharmonic conductor Benjamin Zander’s definition of success.


Fostering greatness


Is your classroom effective?


  1. My grandfather inserted the original print (w/o lyre, etc.) on the inside cover of his furniture company’s 1916-1917 catalog. The only clue I have about the artist is that it is ‘possibly’ the work of Winsor McCay, who might have been commissioned by National Cash Register. If you ever find out who the original artist is, I’d love to know! Thanks! – Chris Lambos

    • That’s an interesting piece of background! I know a few Winsor McCay enthusiasts. Perhaps they can share insights. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Jan, thanks for dropping by the blog and for reblogging our post. I truly love this poster. As you say, it has a timeless message that’s appropriate for many themes and goals. I also enjoy all the fabulous symbolism in the details; like the sign for “Bohemianism” overhanging a raucous bar scene … love it. It’s statement to the designer’s creativity that it’s still pertinent after all these years. ~James @

    • You’re welcome. Thanks very much for posting the wonderful photos and information I found on your blog! I agree that the symbolism just goes on and on. Very true to the creative journey. I do wish they’d credited the artist, back in the day.

  3. I love the quote by Zander. I may have to adopt it.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén