The separation of image content into semantic parts plays a vital role in applications such as compression, enhancement, restoration, and more. In recent years, several pioneering works suggested such a separation be based on variational formulation and others using independent component analysis and sparsity. This paper presents a novel method for separating images into texture and piecewise smooth (cartoon) parts, exploiting both the variational and the sparsity mechanisms. The method combines the basis pursuit denoising (BPDN) algorithm and the total-variation (TV) regularization scheme. The basic idea presented in this paper is the use of two appropriate dictionaries, one for the representation of textures and the other for the natural scene parts assumed to be piecewise smooth. Both dictionaries are chosen such that they lead to sparse representations over one type of image-content (either texture or piecewise smooth). The use of the BPDN with the two amalgamed dictionaries leads to the desired separation, along with noise removal as a by-product. As the need to choose proper dictionaries is generally hard, a TV regularization is employed to better direct the separation process and reduce ringing artifacts. We present a highly efficient numerical scheme to solve the combined optimization problem posed by our model and to show several experimental results that validate the algorithm's performance.