Following on from such unsettling prints as Death in Harlem and The Election Campaign, The Wallet Begins To Empty evokes a feeling of crisis in the story of Hockney’s first visit to New York, as represented by the series A Rake’s Progress. Here we see the figure of the artist being cast out or turned away by a man and a woman standing at the top of a large staircase, a shining obelisk by their side. Hockney’s slumped figure is about halfway down the stairs and looks as if it might be about to topple over. To the right a cloud of red ink, that can be seen in both earlier and later prints in the series, hovers against a blank white background. The downward spiral that has been hinted at in earlier works appears to have begun in earnest and disintegration awaits him in the next plate. In this unfortunate turn of events, Hockney’s series mirrors Hogarth’s somewhat though the circumstances of the two protagonists are quite different. Hockney has updated subject as well as style, choosing to depict himself as the young rake, a gay artist in the most modern of cities, but ultimately they will end up meeting the same fate, the bedlam of the last plate.