So this is an "EXCEPT" question.
(E) is the correct answer because this is indeed the ONLY one of the five answers which is something the author does not include as an example of the pre-World War I painters (in his view of them). In other words, while the author does mention that some people believe that these artists' had the power to predict "social change," the author himself does not believe this. In fact, this is exactly the oppose it of what the author is arguing. The author is actually arguing that the artists' ability to predict the future is based on stylistic innovations, etc., and such innovations had nothing to do with predicting social change, because "the reformation of society was of no interest to them as artists."
(D) is wrong because it is an example cited by the author which describes the pre-World War I painters. And remember, this question refers to the author's point of view. As the author says, "No one will deny that an artist may... speculate about the future and then try to express a vision of that future through... style or choice of imagery." The author is clearly referring to the future of art, not social changes. Thus this is an example of where the author indicates his belief that pre-World War I artists do in fact "anticipate later artists." There's also another example in the passage, but too lazy to find it. So that's why (D) is wrong.