Das Motiv das Glck daheim (The Motif; Happiness at Home) is one of a series of paintings Baseltiz made in the late 1980s known as the 'Streubilder' ('Scatter Paintings') and also sometimes the 'Ciao America' series in which the artist openly confronted the then dominant Geometric, Minimalist and American styles of abstraction with the rawness of his own highly painterly 'European' style.
Relating especially closely to the 'Ciao America' paintings which had begun life as a series of vast woodcut prints depicting birds seemingly clustering at random on a grid in ever increasing numbers until their individuality disappeared into a confusing collective mass of artistic marks, Das Motiv das Glck daheim, in both its style and its title, seems also to refer to the strong 'European-versus-American' theme of these works.
Set against that most minimalist and modernist of forms - the grid - here painted in a raw schismatic manner, the upside-down birds of the 'Ciao America' paintings appear to merge into a confusing yellow mass of paint. Like a painterly folkdance taking place on the modernist grid, the crude painterly mass arising from a sequence of deliberately primitive and Expressionist-style brushwork builds collectively to confuse rather than clarify the imagery. This physical and painterly sense of confusion and disorientation is entirely Baselitz's purpose - it is a deliberate painterly disruption of the subject matter and the motif that extends his original turning of the image upside down into the very act of painting itself.
'There are forty or more birds', Baselitz said of the original 'Ciao America' works, 'but since they are upside-down and consist only of lines, patches and splinters of bright colour which glimmer through the black surface, it is difficult to tell if they are in fact birds and if so, how many of them there are.' The painterly result, Baselitz pointed out 'is somewhat like a sea-shanty sung by a drunkard' (Georg Baselitz, quoted in Franz Dahlem, Georg Baselitz, Cologne, 1990,p. 162). Motiv das Glck daheim seems to reiterate this sensation in paint, fusing the lines and motifs into a sumptuous near-abstract painting that stands in direct contradiction to the modernist clarity and precision of so much American abstraction while, as its title suggests, asserting the pleasure to be found in the multivalent and layered confusion of European tradition and his homeland.