Aspen businessman Harley Baldwin dies |

Aspen businessman Harley Baldwin dies

Janet Urquhart

Harley Baldwin, a prominent Aspen entrepreneur and a key player in the resort’s retail and social scene, died Sunday evening in New York City.

Baldwin, diagnosed with kidney cancer in December, died peacefully at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, surrounded by those closest to him. He was 59 years old.

Plans for a memorial service have not yet been finalized.

He is being remembered today as a philanthropist who loved the arts and culture, a gallery owner with a passion for contemporary art, and as the charismatic owner of the exclusive Caribou Club ” the place to see and be seen in Aspen for more than a decade.

Shaken staffers at the Baldwin Gallery have been taking calls continuously today and confirming the news of his death as word spreads.

“We all loved Harley very much. We’re going to miss him greatly,” said Nancy Caponi, director of the gallery.

Baldwin came to Aspen in the late 1960s to seek his fortune, pursuing various real estate investments that culminated with his ownership of two historic buildings, the Brand Building at Hopkins and Galena, and the Collins Block Building at Hopkins and Mill Street. Together, they are at the heart of what is sometimes called Aspen’s Rodeo Drive, featuring various high-end boutiques like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Fendi.

The Brand Building is also home to the Baldwin Gallery, which Baldwin ran with his partner, Richard Edwards. It is a showcase for contemporary art.

Local leaders and members of the arts community are expressing a mixture of grief and shock today.

“He was very large ” he had large ideas and he definitely had an impact on this community,” said Mayor Helen Klanderud. “I will feel his loss personally and I think the community will feel his loss.”

See Tuesday’s Aspen Times for more about Baldwin’s impact on Aspen.

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