Esser was part of the Dutch "Groep van de figuratieve abstractie" (Figurative abstraction group). He won a silver medal at the Prix de Rome in 1938, and became a professor at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam in 1947.
- Troelstramonument (monument to Pieter Jelles Troelstra) in The Hague (1953)
- Watersnood 1953 (North Sea flood of 1953) in sculpture garden of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (1957)
- Brederomonument (monument to Gerbrand Adriaensz Bredero) in Amsterdam (1968)
- Icarus in The Hague (1974)
- Barmhartige Samaritaan (Good Samaritan) in Utrecht (1976)
- Statue of Cornelis Lely in Lelystad (1984, erected 2002 but removed at sculptor's request in 2003)