Steinmetz's extraordinary drawings do not cleave to the events of Gogol's story so much as they respond to its atmosphere and creatively convey it. I see in the dense and tangled webwork of these pictures the isolating smoke of a mercantile society, and the snare and trammels of a darkened awareness.
Richard Wilbur, Former Poet Laureate of the United States
Steinmetz's ability to move easily from century to century, his free, unrestrained drawing style, ranging from abstract to figurative, his addiction to working in series, which is almost a cinematic device...makes [him] a quintessential modern master.
H.A. Crosby Forbes, Collector & Curator Emeritus, Peabody Essex Museum
The art of Steinmetz is a balance of linear playfulness with the ability to read between the lines. This superb draftsman combines outstanding artistic talent with literary wit.
Heather Haskell, Director, Springfield Museum of Fine Arts
Delicate, dense, edgy, and vigorous all at the same time, these drawings conjure a terrifying world, teeming with fiends, ogres, and incubi who crowd the streets and shops of St. Petersburg... Steinmetz's series [The Portrait] thus makes visible the demonic power that invisibly permeates Gogol's fantastic and intensely pessimistic parable about the power of art and the high mission of the artist.
Claudia L. Johnson, Murray Professor of English Literature; Chair, Department of English, Princeton University
Leon Steinmetz's vibrant and brisk pen-and-ink drawings suggest Piranesi working at the margins of his plate-block: playful, agitated, and yet entirely in control of his medium. [He] has created his own "capricci," echoing the work of the Venetian master, but doing so with a distinctly postmodern eye.
Richard Wendorf, Stanford Calderwood Director and Librarian, Boston Athenaeum
Steinmetz's frenetic pen summons a world whose specters charm the viewer. His skeins of...lines call forth the ghosts of Guercino, Daumier, and Ensor.
Thomas Rassieur, John E. Andrus III Chief Curator of Prints & Drawings, Minneapolis Institute of Art
Steinmetz...intellectually "guides" his subconscious, tunes it up like a musical instrument onto a chosen theme, then proceeds with the intuitive. The result is astonishing indeed-whether it is...the sinister transformations of his "Witches' Sabbath," or the tragicomedy of life in his series "The Theater," where the irony of Commedia dell'Arte is intertwined with the pathos of Shakespeare's tragedies.
I. N. Golomstock, Art Critic, BBC London, Author, Picasso's Graphics