After the apprenticeship as a potter, Powolny attended 1891-1894 the School for Potter-industry in Znaim. 1894-1901 Viennese School of Applied Arts in Vienna (Kunstgewerbeschule) (O. König, A. Strasser), 1903-1906 at F. Metzner. 1906 foundation of the "Viennese Ceramics" with Bertold Löffler), from 1907 the "Viennese Ceramics" purchasing community with the WIENER WERKSTATTE.
The Wiener Werkstaette obtained the general agency for Germany (purchase to the branch-offices of the German factories). 1913 Association between the "Viennese Ceramics" and the ceramics-producing factory in Gmunden (United Viennese and Gmundner Potterware Production Schleiss company). 1909-1936 Professor at the School of Applied Arts in Vienna.
Exhibitions: World-exhibition Paris, 1900, Viennese Art (Secession), 1902, Kunstschau 1908 and 1909, Winter-exhibition (Museum for Art and Industry), 1909/10, 1910/11, 1913/14, Spring-exhibition atthe same museum 1912, Exhibition for Hunting. 1910, Special-exhibition for ceramics and enamel 1911, International Exhibition for Art, Rome, 1911, Werkbund-Exhibition Cologne 1914, Exhibition Austrian Arts and Crafts 1919, Einfacher Hausrat 1920, Anniversary-exhibition of the Viennese Association for Arts and Crafts 1924, Paris 1925, Kunstschau 1927, Christmas-exhibitions (Künstlerhaus 1928 and 1929, Werkbund-exhibition 1939, Paris 1937. Member of the Austrian and German Werkbund. Michael Powolny died on the 4.1. 1954 in Vienna.
Design for other companies: Wiener Keramik, Böck, Sommerhuber, Schwadron, Augarten, Wienerberger (Keramik, Porzellan), Lobmeyr, Lötz (Glas), Klinkosch (Silberwaren). Works for the Wiener Werkstatte: Ceramics, Decoration of the Cabaret Fledermaus, Palais Stoclet. Collaboration in villas by Josef Hoffmann: Villa Skywa, Vienna, Villa Ben, Freundenthal