Dating from 1964, Velfaerd (Welfare) was painted at the height of Jorn's involvement with the Scandinavian Institute of Contemporary Vandalism (Skandinavisk Institut for Sammenlignende Vandalisme), which he had co-founded in 1961. The Institute was a centre for research into Nordic pre-history, with the self-consciously ironic name intended as a reference to common misconceptions about Viking barbarism. Jorn was deeply engaged with issues surrounding Nordic art, particularly with the very question of whether it was possible to define a distinctly Nordic aesthetic. The closest he came to a conclusion was that in recent times, the 'question is not our art itself, but the necessity of demonstrating the peculiar way in which we observe and appreciate art ... It is not a question of keeping watch over Nordic art, but of throwing it into the scale, of opening chests and drawers and buying our liberty by means of it'.
Velfaerd (Welfare) is likely to be a reference to the Danish ideal model of society, the welfare state, which Jorn frequently critiqued for its conformity and resemblance to a surveillance state. It belongs to a small series of paintings from the same year, all in the same format but very different visually, entitled Øjensynlige billeder (Glimpses of the obvious). In the same year, Jorn turned down the prestigious Guggenheim International Award, suspecting that the popular museum merely wanted to use his name with its publicity campaign.