Bertoia developed his own style of graphics at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, and never worked with, or even met, other printmakers.

He made thousands of monotypes or monographics, unique prints on delicate paper.

He would ink up a glass surface, place rice paper on it, and then create designs with fingers or hand tools from the backside of the paper. Each “print” is unique – never reproductions of another – with abstract shapes and forms. When Bertoia, looking for critique and direction, sent about 100 monotypes to Hilla Rebay at the Guggenheim Museum of Non-Objective Art in 1943, he was quite shocked when she asked to purchase the entire stock. He was up half the night determining a fee, and finally set $1000 as his compensation. When the subsequent Guggenheim show included many of his prints, Bertoia’s name gained recognition.

Bertoia loved the quickness and spontaneity of the medium of his graphics. While sculptures took weeks or months to produce, monotypes came to life in mere minutes. The series of 50 monotypes reproduced in the Harry Bertoia Fifty Drawings book “came into being in about twenty-four hours of uninterrupted work… Drawing on the backside of the page did not permit clear visibility, a great advantage, for it necessitated inner vision to take over the function of the eye. Surprises were always in store when the paper was turned over.”

See samples here. Originals often come up for sale at auction houses.