Michael Powolny (1871-1954) was an Austrian sculptor, ceramist, designer, and teacher. He was born in Judenburg, Austria and after completing trade school as a potter, he pursued his studies at ToninInstrie in Znaim before joining the Universität für Angewandte Kunst (Vienna University of Applied Arts) in Vienna. Following his graduation, he founded the “Wiener Keramik Workshop” with Berthold Löffler in 1906. It was a huge success and the attention he gained from selling his products gave him the opportunity to showcase his products internationally. His proximity to the “Wiener Secession” largely influenced his work, and the workshop became part of the Wiener Werkstätte a year later. There he designed many decorative objects and sculptures for Augarten porcelain, crystal for J. L. Lobmeyr and glass for Loetz. He is also known for and municipal monuments, such as fountains and war memorials and a number of coins for the Austrian currency the “Schilling”.
He is known for various individual sculptures and municipal monuments such as fountains and war memorials, but also for designs for household objects, including porcelain for Augarten porcelain, crystal for J. L. Lobmeyr and glass for Loetz. Following the “Neue Sachlichkeit” (new objectivity) style for his “Opus” service Powolny chose to reduce the set’s components to their constructive and functional form thus carefully striking a balance between elegant aesthetic and utilitarian usage.