Apr 9, 2018

An art collector who was part of Andy Warhol’s scene died when a fire broke out in his Trump Tower apartment over the weekend.

A blaze on the 50th floor of the apartment building in Midtown Manhattan on Saturday injured four firefighters and claimed the life of 67-year-old Todd Brassner, a collector of art, watches, cars and vintage guitars. Brassner, who in recent years struggled with health problems and bankruptcy, began collecting and dealing art after being introduced to Warhol by his father, the dealer Jules Brassner. Fellow collector Stuart Pivar, speaking with the New York Times, recalled that the Warhol and Brassner were “very close,” and often went shopping together. “They were like two 14-year-olds, seeing the world,” Mr. Pivar said of the pair. “And he was very knowledgeable about pop art.” Brassner spent decades acquiring work by artists such as Robert Indiana and Mati Klarwein that he stored in his apartment alongside curios such as a collection of ukuleles, but in recent years he became something of a recluse; Warhol biographer Blake Gopnik said he made several attempts to schedule an interview, to no avail. Friends recalled that, after Brassner declared bankruptcy in 2015, he attempted to sell his Trump Tower apartment but could not find a buyer after the 2016 presidential election. As one friend recalled, “when people heard it was a Trump building, he couldn’t give it away.”